The objective of this study was to analyze the post-event effects of cell phone usage to gauge whether distracting effects continue after the actual distracting task or event has ended. There were 36 participants in this study with an average age of 28.4 years. Participants were asked to perform tasks on a driving simulator and the route was comparable to what participants would encounter as they normally drive to work or to school. Using their own cell phone, participants answered text messages or phone calls from one of the researchers, who asked questions about their personal life, job, and school.
Results indicated that talking on a cell phone did not negatively affect the driving performance of participants as compared to texting tasks which had a significant negative impact on the ability of participants to drive. In particular, while there was not a significant decrease in driver performance (both lateral and longitudinal control) during and after the cell phone conversation, there were, however, significant decreases in driver performance in terms of both the longitudinal and lateral control of the vehicle during the actual texting task. In addition, on average, once participants had completed the texting task, their level of distraction continued for an average of 3.38 seconds which equaled a distance of 100m for vehicles traveling at 65 mph. This lingering distraction was attributed to the fact that texting is more visually demanding than talking on the phone. Researchers suggested that future research was needed to analyze the effects of additional variables that cause distraction among drivers, and to determine whether the posted speed limit has any effect on post-event distraction.
Thapa, R., Codjoe, J., Ishak, S., & McCarter, K. S. (2015). Post and during event effect of cell phone talking and texting on driving performance—A driving simulator study. Traffic Injury Prevention, 16(5), 461-467.