Music Can Distract Teen Drivers
September 11, 2013
The Philadelphia Inquirer — A recent BGU study shows that the music preferences of many young drivers – pop, rock, dance, hip hop, rap, all of it played loud – increase their driving errors.
The study, conducted by BGU Director of Music Science Research Dr. Warren Brodsky and researcher Zack Slor, will be published in the October issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention.
The research involved 85 teen drivers accompanied by an adult driving instructor. The cars used were learner vehicles with double accelerator and brake pedals.
When the teens got to play their own music selection, 98% of them engaged in “deficient driving behaviors” an average of three times during the approximately 40 minute long trip.
About a third of those behaviors required the verbal intervention of the instructor to prevent an accident. Twenty percent of the mistakes required the instructor to take action using the dual controls.
When the drivers listened to music selected to be calming – described as “easy listening, soft rock, light jazz” – driving errors dropped by 20 percent.
“Drivers in general are not aware that as they get drawn in by a song, they move from outward-directed thinking to a more personal space of active music listening,” says Dr. Brodsky.