1. According to Prompt 5, texting while driving reduces driving ability by 23x. In order to explain this using Baddeley’s model of working memory, I will attempt to explain the underlying components. Working memory consists of the Central Executive, which has two modes of control.
The first mode is automatic, or semi-autoamatic, and based on existing habits. An example would be driving a car. Once you have mastered the skill, you don’t have to exert a lot of thinking to accomplish it. You just do it.
The second mode in Executive Control is the supervisory attentional system (SAS). This mode of control is crucial to activate alternate strategies for unforseen events; i.e., the road is closed and you must decide what to do, or, a car is stopped in the middle of the highway and you must make a quick decision about proper action to take. Slips of action can occur causing the SAS to fail to operate when it should. Cell phone usage while driving would certainly contribute to the SAS not functioning at the level it should.
There is a phonological loop which temporaily stores speech/sound. It is implicated that the the role of speech/sound is connected to action and the ability to switch attention between two tasks, but further studies are required to prove this.
The visuo-spatial sketchpad allows us to form mental imagery. The visuo-spatial sketchpad and the phonological loop can and do work together. This can increase performance in some tasks; it can decrease performance in others. Imagery can interfere with spatial processing. Baddeley’s model of working memory illustrates this with an example of driving while listening to a football game. The author stated his mind formed such a clear image of the game that his car began weaving lane to lane. In order to rectify this, he switched the radio to music and resumed driving in his own lane. Brain activity for driving safely would definately be decreased by texting, talking on a cell phone, or using a computer.
Lastly, the episodic buffer is the 4th component in Baddeley’s model of working memory. It is still a concept in the early ages of development. The episodic buffer is a proposed storage system, an active binding process of information. It is linked to long-term memory (LTM) and allows chunking of information from all the other components described. It also allows for the influence of emotion on working memory.
2. I am not convinced by the truckers’ argument to keep their computers on board and activated. The only objection offered by the trucking companies is that to make the computer set-ups illegal would lose time– that is, money. No economic advantage can ever license an increase of risk to human life.
“After videotaping truckers behind the wheel, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that those who used on-board computers faced a 10 times greater risk of crashing, nearly crashing or wandering from their lane than truckers who did not use those devices.”
Mark Schiefelbein for The New York Times
How safe does this look???????????????????????????????
Using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle should be banned in the United States. In support of this position, the National Safety Council advocates for a legalized ban in all 50 states. It has been proven dangerous, sometimes deadly, to use a mobile phone while driving. Drivers have difficulty maintaining a safe speed limit, keeping a proper distance between their vehicle and other vehicles, and staying in the proper lane. Reaction to dangerous situations is decreased because the driver’s attention is on the conversation and not the road. A study done in 1997 showed that people talking on cell phones were four times more likely to crash. Another study, conducted in 2003 by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, estimated cell phone usage contributes to at least 6% of car crashes. This study also put the yearly financial total for cell phone related crashes at 43 billion dollars. Safe driving should be the goal of all who get behind the wheel of a car. Based on the evidence of distraction directly from cell phone usage while driving, the United States should ban this practice for the safety of all citizens on the road.
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