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AttentionFrom Theory to Practice$
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Arthur F. Kramer, Douglas A. Wiegmann, and Alex Kirlik

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305722.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Multitasking in the Automobile

Multitasking in the Automobile

(p.121) Chapter 9 Multitasking in the Automobile

David L. Strayer

Frank A. Drews

Oxford University Press

While often being reminded to pay full attention while driving an automobile, people regularly engage in a wide variety of multitasking activities when they are behind the wheel. Unfortunately, these multitasking activities often result in driver distraction. During the last decade, many new electronic devices were developed and are making their way into the vehicle. There is good reason to believe that some of these new multitasking activities may be more distracting because they are more cognitively engaging and because they are often performed over more sustained periods of time. This chapter examines the human information processing costs associated with hands-free cell phone use during driving. The benchmark used is that of the driver who is intoxicated from ethanol at the legal limit (0.08 wt/vol). How do the impairments caused by cell phone conversations compare with this benchmark? The conclusions of the study, in terms of the nature and magnitude of performance and safety costs, are both theoretically and practically important, and suggest that recent registration on cell phones and driving should be reexamined in light of the data.

Keywords:   attention, driving, distraction, multitasking, cell phones, safety, performance, ethanol, information processing

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