KU News Release

Dec. 14, 2011
Contact: Brendan Lynch, KU News Service, 785-864-8855

MEDIA ADVISORY: Top expert on distracted driving available to speak about NTSB's proposed cell phone ban

More Information

LAWRENCE — Paul Atchley, associate professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, conducts pioneering research into issues of vision and attention related to driving.

He is available to speak with media about the National Transportation Safety Board recommendation that U.S. states impose total bans on texting, emailing or talking on a cell phone while driving.

"What we need to understand is that the NTSB recommendation was made not based on one event,” said Atchley. “The recommendation for a total ban on electronic distractions was made based on review of numerous tragedies and backed by a multitude of studies showing distracted driving, even hands-free, can be as or more dangerous than drunk driving. Work in our lab shows that drivers know how risky the behavior is, but that we are so attracted to the devices, that it will take changing and enforcing distracted driving laws as the NTSB recommends to get us to focus on driving again."

Atchley currently is studying the cognitive effects of in-vehicle technology and investigating public attitudes toward distracted driving. He also has worked on issues related to sign design, older-driver training and work zone safety.

A video of Atchley discussing the dangers of texting and driving is available here.

On Monday, the NTSB issued a safety recommendation specifically calling for a nationwide ban of nonemergency use of portable electronic devices, except GPS, while driving.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

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