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Examining the Triggers That Lead to Distracted Driving

Examining the Triggers That Lead to Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving Study Texting - UH - Photo Malcolm Dcosta UHAmid ongoing concern over the proliferation of texting while driving, researchers from the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute set out to determine how absent-mindedness and stress impact driving and learned along the way that — while texting is far more distracting than talking on the phone — there are cognitive, emotional and sensory factors at play in those and other activities that can lead to distracted driving.

The report, published last month in the journal Nature, also offers insight into the importance of — as the old adage puts it — keeping your eyes on the road.

We talk with report co-author and computer science professor Ioannis Pavlidis, founder of the Computational Physiology Lab at the University of Houston.

(Above: One of the 59 volunteers in a distracted driving study by the University of Houston and Texas A&M Transportation Institute sits in a high-fidelity driving simulator. Photo: Malcolm Dcosta, University of Houston)

A Sixth Sense Protects Drivers Except When Texting (EurekAlert, May 12, 2016)
Study: Dissecting Driver Behaviors (Nature, May 12, 2016)

About the Author

Michael Hagerty

Michael HagertyMichael Hagerty is the Senior Producer for Houston Matters. He has a degree in journalism from Abilene Christian University and has served as news director for NPR and PBS stations around Texas and The West, including: KUNR-FM in Reno, Nev.; KNPB-TV in Reno, Nev.; and KWBU-TV/FM in Waco, Texas. He got his start on the air as a college student hosting Morning Edition at KACU-FM in Abilene, Texas. A native of the Chicago area and an avid Cubs fan, Michael spent four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.View all posts by Michael Hagerty →