Thursday, March 28, 2013

Texting, Driving, and BAC

The controversy about the dangers of texting or some hands-free talking behind the wheel continues to rage. Well, results of an experiment by Scientists from Australian universities in collaboration with the University of Barcelona has shown that using a handsfree kit or sending text messages while driving a vehicle is the same as being above the legal alcohol limit. The findings of the current laboratory study suggest that very simple conversations on a mobile phone may not represent a significant driving risk (compared to a legally permissible blood alcohol concentration or BAC), whereas cognitively demanding, hands-free conversation, and particularly texting, represent significant risks to driving. When the conversation using the hands-free was simple, the effects were comparable to a BAC level of 0.04 g/l, which is below the legal limit of 0.5 g/l in countries like Spain and Australia. However, when the telephone conversation required high cognitive demand, their equivalent alcohol level analog shot up to 0.7 g/l, which was above legal limits in both Spain and Australia (0.5 gram/litre), yet below countries, like the USA or the UK, where BAC up to 0.8 g/l is allowed. However, when texting, the level shot up to 1 g/l, which is illegal in all of the countries mentioned.

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