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A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver

19 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2004  

David L. Strayer

University of Utah

Dennis J. Crouch

University of Utah

Frank A. Drews

University of Utah

Date Written: July 2004

Abstract

We used a high-fidelity driving simulator to compare the performance of cell-phone drivers with drivers who were legally intoxicated from ethanol. When drivers were conversing on either a hand-held or hands-free cell-phone, their braking reactions were delayed and they were involved in more traffic accidents than when they were not conversing on the cell phone. By contrast, when drivers were legally intoxicated they exhibited a more aggressive driving style, following closer to the vehicle immediately in front of them and applying more force while braking. When controlling for driving conditions and time on task, cell-phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers. The results have implications for legislation addressing driver distraction caused by cell phone conversations.

Keywords: cell phones, drunk drivers, performance, legislation

JEL Classification: L50

Suggested Citation

Strayer, David L. and Crouch, Dennis J. and Drews, Frank A., A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver (July 2004). AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper No. 04-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=570222 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.570222

David L. Strayer (Contact Author)

University of Utah ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Dennis J. Crouch

University of Utah ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

Frank A. Drews

University of Utah ( email )

1645 E. Campus Center
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

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