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Study: Music Affects How Teens Drive

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, August 26, 2013

Study: Music Affects How Teens Drive

The kind of music teens listen to while behind the wheel affects how they drive, according to a new study.

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that teen drivers who listen to music from their own playlists commit a greater number of errors and miscalculations.

The study found that male drivers, in particular, make more frequent and serious mistakes when listening to their preferred music than their less aggressive, female counterparts.

For the study, published in Accident Analysis and Prevention, researchers evaluated 85 young drivers. Accompanied by a researcher/driving instructor, the teens took six challenging 40-minute trips.

During two of the trips they listened to music from their own playlists. Two of the trips were conducted with no music, while another two were conducted with background music designed to increase driver safety, such as easy listening, soft rock, and light jazz, the researchers report.

Researchers assessed distraction by measuring driver deficiencies, including miscalculation, inaccuracy, aggressiveness, and violations, as well as decreased vehicle performance.

When the teen drivers listened to their preferred music, virtually all — 98 percent– demonstrated an average of three deficient driving behaviors in at least one of the trips, according to the study.

Without listening to music, 92 percent made errors. However, when driving with an alternative music background designed by Brodsky and Israeli composer Micha Kisner, deficient driving behaviors decreased by 20 percent, the researchers report.

The researchers concluded, “Drivers in general are not aware that as they get drawn in by a song, they move from an extra-personal space involving driving tasks, to a more personal space of active music listening.”

Source: PsychCentral