Mobile phones

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Matt1962
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Matt1962 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:50 am

akirk wrote:That can't be true...
We can all walk / breath / etc. simultaneously - I can walk, breathe and juggle at the same time - loads of combinations of things we can do together...
It must be about balance between subconscious and conscious surely?

Alasdair


Yes of course it is, and also what is meant by 'simultaneous'. It might be true that parts of the brain can only focus on one task at a time, but if (for example) that complete focus only lasts for fractions of a second and/or is being switched rapidly between tasks then for practical purposes you can deal with a number of things 'simultaneously'.
Many contributors to this thread seem to think that mobile phones are somehow uniquely distracting, whereas the reality is that almost everything we do whilst driving has the potential to dangerously distract attention from another task. What happens when you look in the mirrors for example?
It is quite possible to have someone blathering away to you on a mobile phone and pay no more attention to them than someone blathering away on the radio. How any potential distraction actually affects driving is entirely down to individual drivers.
Good reason for training and sensible guidelines, not good reason for bans.

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Horse
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Horse » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:07 am

Matt1962 wrote: It might be true that parts of the brain can only focus on one task at a time, but if (for example) that complete focus only lasts for fractions of a second and/or is being switched rapidly between tasks then for practical purposes you can deal with a number of things 'simultaneously'


'If' . . .

The point is that many people just don't understand how much they are distracted.

Matt1962 wrote: Many contributors to this thread seem to think that mobile phones are somehow uniquely distracting


I've not read that, could you give some examples from those contributors? [It won't include me, because I'm fairly sure that I posted a link to research on various in-car distractions and only yesterday posted a link to the thread I started about an ambo driver spending several seconds looking inside the cab.]

Matt1962 wrote: What happens when you look in the mirrors for example?


You can't see yourself blink. Saccades etc.

Or is that not what you meant?
My own views. For better or worse :)

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Horse
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Horse » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:37 am

Talking (sic) of 'distraction', I just happened across this . . .

Commentary driver training involves teaching drivers how to verbally acknowledge their perceptual and cognitive processes while driving, and has been shown to improve performance in driving-related tasks. However, those studies demonstrating benefits of commentary training have not done so under conditions of live commentary, which is the typical protocol used with advanced drivers.

In the current study we present the results of two experiments that show that
producing a commentary can actually slow responses to hazards on a concurrent hazard perception task. In Experiment 1 participants producing a live commentary showed significantly longer hazard response times than an untrained, silent, control group. In Experiment 2 a shorter, clipped commentary was introduced to attempt to reduce the demands placed upon participants.

However, both the clipped and full commentary conditions showed reduced accuracy and longer response times, relative to a silent condition, and no difference was observed between the two types of commentary. Analysis of eye movements in both experiments revealed that fixation durations were shorter when a commentary was produced, but time to first fixate the hazard was not affected.

This suggests that commentaries encourage more active interrogation of the visual scene, but that this can be detrimental to performance in average drivers.


http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/26045/
My own views. For better or worse :)

Matt1962
Posts: 84
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Matt1962 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:57 am

Horse wrote:
Matt1962 wrote: It might be true that parts of the brain can only focus on one task at a time, but if (for example) that complete focus only lasts for fractions of a second and/or is being switched rapidly between tasks then for practical purposes you can deal with a number of things 'simultaneously'


'If' . . .

The point is that many people just don't understand how much they are distracted.

Matt1962 wrote: Many contributors to this thread seem to think that mobile phones are somehow uniquely distracting


I've not read that, could you give some examples from those contributors? [It won't include me, because I'm fairly sure that I posted a link to research on various in-car distractions and only yesterday posted a link to the thread I started about an ambo driver spending several seconds looking inside the cab.]

Matt1962 wrote: What happens when you look in the mirrors for example?


You can't see yourself blink. Saccades etc.

Or is that not what you meant?


OK - I will bite :)

Here is a quote from not too far back (not from you admittedly):

The reality is that you cannot concentrate on two things at once and if the phone conversation causes you to use your visual cortex to understand a question or formulate a response - something over which you have no control


So, if the important factor is not being able to concentrate on two things at once you could rewrite the quote:

The reality is that you cannot concentrate on two things at once and if looking in the mirrors causes you to use your visual cortex to understand what is going on behind you or formulate a response - something over which you have no control


I have no idea why 'you have no control' in either of these distraction scenarios, nor why (hands free) mobile phones are seen as such a potent distraction that they need to be banned? Why not try to improve understanding of all possible driving distractions and encourage best practice?

Rolyan
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Rolyan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:38 pm

Matt1962 wrote:How any potential distraction actually affects driving is entirely down to individual drivers.

No its not. It's partly down to individual drivers, not entirely.

Matt1962 wrote:Good reason for training and sensible guidelines, not good reason for bans.

I would suggest that like many things in life, there is a place for both.

Rolyan
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Rolyan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:53 pm

Matt1962 wrote:I have no idea why ....(hands free) mobile phones are seen as such a potent distraction that they need to be banned? Why not try to improve understanding of all possible driving distractions and encourage best practice?

Really? You have no idea why?

Perhaps a more accurate way of phrasing it would be that you understand perfectly why some see it as a distraction that should be banned, but you happen to disagree with them. That's fair enough, both sides can have an opinion; but I'm surprised to hear you say that you have no idea why others disagree with your opinion.

It's fairly clear that there are two basic positions.

One is that hands free mobile phones are a distraction, as proven by independent studies and/or empirical knowledge, and that as the risk outweighs the likelihood of all drivers being willing or able to manage the situation, then it should be banned.

The other is that hands free mobile phones are not a distraction and that the studies are not robust, and that as the risk is small and all drivers can be trusted to manage the situation, then it should not be banned.

Both those positions are valid and very easy to understand. The difficulty is trying to get everyone to put aside our own beliefs and try to get independent studies accepted that give robust, stable and predictable results that we can all agree on and use to formulate legislation. But that takes a lot of effort and a willingness to accept that how we see the world may not be 'correct'. That, I suspect, is almost impossible, which is why this has gone on for 48 pages!

Matt1962
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Matt1962 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:29 pm

Rolyan wrote:
Matt1962 wrote:I have no idea why ....(hands free) mobile phones are seen as such a potent distraction that they need to be banned? Why not try to improve understanding of all possible driving distractions and encourage best practice?

Really? You have no idea why?

Perhaps a more accurate way of phrasing it would be that you understand perfectly why some see it as a distraction that should be banned, but you happen to disagree with them. That's fair enough, both sides can have an opinion; but I'm surprised to hear you say that you have no idea why others disagree with your opinion.

It's fairly clear that there are two basic positions.

One is that hands free mobile phones are a distraction, as proven by independent studies and/or empirical knowledge, and that as the risk outweighs the likelihood of all drivers being willing or able to manage the situation, then it should be banned.

The other is that hands free mobile phones are not a distraction and that the studies are not robust, and that as the risk is small and all drivers can be trusted to manage the situation, then it should not be banned.

Both those positions are valid and very easy to understand. The difficulty is trying to get everyone to put aside our own beliefs and try to get independent studies accepted that give robust, stable and predictable results that we can all agree on and use to formulate legislation. But that takes a lot of effort and a willingness to accept that how we see the world may not be 'correct'. That, I suspect, is almost impossible, which is why this has gone on for 48 pages!


Yes - well put, and apologies for my own lack of clear thinking/expression.
My position is not quite that of your second one, as I do believe that hands free phones can lead to dangerous distraction, but don't think that this is an inevitable result of using this technology. I also think that a ban at this stage would be politically and practically impossible, so a code of best practice would be the most logical route to go down.

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Strangely Brown
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Strangely Brown » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:33 pm

Matt1962 wrote:OK - I will bite :)

Here is a quote from not too far back (not from you admittedly):

The reality is that you cannot concentrate on two things at once and if the phone conversation causes you to use your visual cortex to understand a question or formulate a response - something over which you have no control


So, if the important factor is not being able to concentrate on two things at once you could rewrite the quote:

The reality is that you cannot concentrate on two things at once and if looking in the mirrors causes you to use your visual cortex to understand what is going on behind you or formulate a response - something over which you have no control


Looking in the mirrors is the same as looking forwards or sideways. You are using your conscious for the driving task. Looking in the mirror or sideways means that you are not looking forwards and you will miss things if you spend too much time doing it, obviously.

This is not at all the same as using your conscious for a hands-free call where the conversation has triggered your brain to visualise something. You may well still be looking forwards out of the window and your subconscious may well kick in and react to an emergency situation but while your conscious is on the call, you will have "blind" periods where you miss things.

Matt1962 wrote:I have no idea why 'you have no control' in either of these distraction scenarios, nor why (hands free) mobile phones are seen as such a potent distraction that they need to be banned? Why not try to improve understanding of all possible driving distractions and encourage best practice?


You have no control over when you use your visual cortex. If an event triggers your brain to visualise something then you cannot stop that.

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jont-
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby jont- » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:34 pm

Matt1962 wrote: so a code of best practice would be the most logical route to go down.

I dunno, you could call it something like the "highway code" And then prosecute people who don't stick to it for something like not paying attention while driving... :lol:

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Strangely Brown
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Re: Mobile phones

Postby Strangely Brown » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:36 pm

Matt1962 wrote:I also think that a ban at this stage would be politically and practically impossible [...]


I agree. That's why the legislation doesn't cover hands-free (the practicality anyway).

Matt1962 wrote:[...] so a code of best practice would be the most logical route to go down.


It already exists. You choose to ignore it.

http://think.direct.gov.uk/mobile-phones.html


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