Car accident

Cognitive Driving Distractions Ranked Study: Measures Cognitive Distractions in the Car From Least to Most Distracting

Distracted driving is a significant highway safety threat, responsible for well over 3,000 fatalities each year.

There are three types of distraction: visual (e.g., taking eyes off the road), manual (e.g., taking hands off the wheel), and cognitive (e.g., daydreaming).

Six common driver tasks were analyzed in a study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Here are the results, ranked from least distracting to most distracting:


#6 Listening to the radio

#5 Listening to an audiobook

#4 Having a hands-free phone conversation

#3 Talking with a passenger

#2 Having a hand-held phone conversation

#1 Interacting with a speech-to-text system

Even when a driver’s eyes are on the road and hands are on the wheel, cognitive distraction causes significant impairments including suppressed activity in the areas of the brain needed for safe driving, increased reaction time, and decreased visual scanning of the driving environment.

Using a cellphone while driving increases crash risk. Phone applications that restrict or limit access to electronic devices are widely available and easy to install.

Reduce accident risks by keeping your phone out of reach while driving or restrict access with a phone application.
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