Psychology Researcher Can Discuss the Science to Support Cell Phone Texting Bans

Jan 29, 2010, 09:30 ET from University of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Transportation's decision Tuesday (Jan. 26) to ban bus and truck drivers from texting while driving comes at a time when many states already have passed, or are introducing, legislation to enact similar bans.

Dr. Amit Almor, a psychology researcher at the University of South Carolina, can discuss the science to support such bans. He says language and driving are complex activities that tax the brain in many ways and that texting adds another layer of language and motor skills, which make for a lethal combination. Almor has completed two studies in 2008 and 2009 that look at the demands on the brain's resources when talking on cell phones while driving.  

"Verbal communication is a complex combination of listening, thought generating and talking.  Driving involves assessment and decision-making and an array of motor skills," Almor says.  "Talking on a cell phone while driving is distracting and dangerous.  Texting is far worse, as it adds another motor skill and keeps the driver in a different mental space for a much longer period of time."

His research has been featured in the journal, Experimental Psychology.

Almor is an expert on the relationship between language, memory and attention. He joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina in 2003, having taught previously at the University of Southern California. He earned his doctorate from Brown University.

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SOURCE University of South Carolina