Cell Phone Usage and Multitaskers

There have been several articles and awareness campaigns regarding cell phone usage while driving. Many people believe they can multitask without a problem, but studies indicate just the opposite.

As reported in Medical News Today, Motorists overrate their ability to talk on cell phones while driving. A study supported by a grant from the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety was conducted with students enrolled at the University of Utah. The tests measured multitasking activity, perceived multitasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking.

The findings indicate that the persons who are most capable of multitasking effectively are not the persons who are most likely to engage in multiple tasks simultaneously. To the contrary, multitasking activity as measured by the Media Multitasking Inventory and self-reported cell phone usage while driving were negatively correlated with actual multitasking ability. Multitasking was positively correlated with participants’ perceived ability to multitask ability which was found to be significantly inflated. Participants with a strong approach orientation and a weak avoidance orientation – high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking – reported greater multitasking behavior. Finally, the findings suggest that people often engage in multitasking because they are less able to block out distractions and focus on a singular task.

To read the complete study go to http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054402.

Remember, don’t overestimate your ability to safely use your cell phone while driving. Distracted driving causes motor vehicle accidents which can lead to serious injury or death. Be a safe driver and don’t text and drive, or talk on the phone and drive.