Posts Tagged Mental chronometry

Cagle Post » Older Drivers: Should They Be Tested?


Older Drivers: Should They Be Tested?

Tyrades! By Danny Tyree


Some call it profiling. Some call it discrimination. Some call it stereotyping.

Some call it “Grandma, you can’t keep ripping off my metropolitan phonebook in order to see over the steering wheel!”

Whatever one’s gut reaction to the issue of older drivers, the aging of the vast Baby Boom generation demands that the subject be discussed, in order to achieve a balance between road safety and harmonious, productive “golden years.”

Cam Cardow / Ottawa Citizen (click to view more cartoons by Cam)

Sadly, society has found it difficult to conduct a meaningful dialogue about the potential dangers. Seniors’ knee-jerk reaction is to dwell on how much better they drive than teenagers. Thoughtful seniors will concede that there is a certain unfairness to challenging someone to a urination contest when you haven’t quite got your incontinency medication right.

The debate is clouded by the fact that all drivers are different and no age group has a monopoly on driving skills. Older drivers are superior in many aspects of the task, but studies have shown a frightening dimension to their road rage. (“Dadgummit, tomatoes just don’t taste like they did when I was growing up — and SOMEBODY is going to pay!!!”)

Studies show that seniors have a slower reaction time when faced with glaring headlights and other distractions. I don’t mean to question the researchers, but many of the elderly are still adept at snap decisions. (“So this is your new girlfriend. She has tattoos. That means she’s a prostitute!”)

The ability to continue driving is important to the DIGNITY of seniors. They can regale their passengers with dignified stories of “Did I ever tell you what my friends and I did at WOODSTOCK? We were still laughing about that when we bought our first polyester leisure suits and platform shoes. Breaker, breaker, good buddy. Are you still listening back there?”

According to USA Today, more than 600,000 drivers age 70 and above voluntarily take themselves off the road each year. We need to help seniors recognize the tell-tale signs that they need to shift to a less independent lifestyle. If you drive while talking on the phone — the LAND-LINE phone—it’s probably time to hang up the keys. If you dutifully look both ways at an intersection — because you never know when the Pony Express could come by — it’s probably time to hang up the keys. If you pull to the shoulder of the road out of respect for a funeral procession, and don’t start up again until you hear the wagon driver chanting, “Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!” — it’s probably time to hang up the keys.

The situation demands a wide arsenal, including periodic testing of ALL drivers who have brushes with the law, respectfully customized restricted licenses, a streamlined process for reporting concerns and heightened publicity for AARP driver education programs.

One of the greatest dreads of adult children is the time that they must ask their parents to surrender their car keys. Of course this process is made much easier if the parent flaunts a Winnebago plastered with bumper stickers such as “I’m Spending My Children’s Inheritance.” (“It’s safer if you give up driving, Dad. And you never know when the batteries in the TV remote will start a fire. And I’ve heard some disturbing things about the potential danger of recliners…”)

 Cagle Post » Older Drivers: Should They Be Tested?.

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Using A Smartphone While Driving More Dangerous Than Alcohol | TechWeekEurope UK


Using A Smartphone While Driving More Dangerous Than Alcohol

Research shows that using a smartphone behind the wheel causes slower reaction times than when under influence of alcohol or drugs

On  by Jiten Karia 2

Social networking or emailing with a smartphone while driving could be more dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol or cannabis, research has revealed.

In a study conducted by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, participants using DigiCar – the Transport Research Laboratory’s (TRL) car simulator – showed 37.6 percent slower reaction times to road events when sending and receiving Facebook messages.

Driving risk


This compared to 37.4 percent slower reaction times while texting, 26.5 percent while having a hands-free phone conversation, 21 per cent while under the influence of cannabis and 12.5 percent while at the legal limit for alcohol.

The results are concerning as approximately 3.5 million license holders – eight percent of drivers – admit to using their smartphones while driving. More worryingly, 24 percent of drivers between 17 and 24 years old, a group at a higher risk of accidents, admit the same.

“Our research clearly demonstrates that driver behaviour was significantly and dramatically impaired when a smartphone was being used for social networking,” said TRL senior researcher, Nick Reed. “Drivers spent more time looking at their phone than the road ahead when trying to send messages, rendering the driver blind to emerging hazards and the developing traffic situation. Even when hazards were detected, the driver’s ability to respond was slowed.”

The IAM said that it wants the government, phone makers and social networks to highlight the dangers of using smartphones while driving to users. The organisation claims that a concentrated effort could produce an impact on the public similar to the change in attitudes to seat belts and drink-driving.

“Young people have grown up with smartphones and using them is part of everyday life,” said Simon Best, chief executive of the IAM. “But more work needs to be done by the government and social network providers to show young people that they are risking their lives and the lives of others if they use their smartphones while driving.”

 Using A Smartphone While Driving More Dangerous Than Alcohol | TechWeekEurope UK.

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