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Saturday, October 07, 2006

If professional pilots mess up at this, how do the rest of usually fare?

I was browsing the Car Talk website, and saw an article in the spring 2006 edition of Perspectives. In this article, the two professors, Jacob Rose and James Hunton, studied the effects of using a cell phone. The result of this study shows that the use of a hands-free headset has no effect on a driver's abilities. It is the conversation itself that is the problem.
There were two groups used in this study. The two groups were professional airline pilots and non-pilots. Airline pilots were used in this experiment because they operate complex aircraft while talking to ground control and passengers. They do this on a daily basis safely.
There were three parts in this experiment. In the first part, normal driving was not effected in either group. in the second part, talking to a passenger, airline pilots faired slightly better than non-pilots. It is in the third part were the two groups diverged greatly.
In the third part of this experiment, which involved talking on a cell phone, the performance of the airline pilots dropped slightly. On the other hand, the performance of the nonpilots dropped quite drasticly.
Normally, a person who is talking on a cell phone is attempting to visualize what the other person is doing. When that person is driving a car, that is a dangerous situation. After all, less than one percent of the American population consists of pilots.


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