So, here’s an interesting paper on distracted driving. The researchers ran a very carefully designed experiment using a driving simulator and then measure maybe a dozen different things as the drivers engaged in various tasks. They then summed up those measures into a metric they call workload. What I found surprising is how all forms of conversation are basically equivalently distracting – talking to a passenger, talking on a classic cellphone, and talking on via a handsfree device. Their scale runs from 1 to 5 where the task that anchors #1 is driving their course, and #5 is an obnoxious task where the driver has to listen to and solve word and match puzzles.
- 1.00 Driving
- 1.21 Listening to the radio
- 1.75 Audio book
- 2.27 Hands-free cellphone
- 2.33 Talking to a passenger
- 2.45 Handheld cellphone
- 3.06 speech-to-text email system
In the US the legal limit for drunk driving is 0.08, and apparently talking on a classic cell phone is equivalent. I’ve not found any research on how distracting thinking about internet trolls is.