City Cafe

The Philosophy of Distracted Driving: A New Theory

Robert Rosenberger is a researcher at Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy.
Credit Georgia Institute of Technology
Audio version of this story here.

During this Fall Fund Drive, we’re looking back at some of our favorite work we’ve brought you on City Café in recent months.   

A quick quiz: Which is safer? Driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone, or while using a hands-free device? 

If you answered “Neither,” then you’ve likely been paying attention to a number of studies in recent years—most recently, last week, from The University of Utah and AAA.


These studies keep finding that that talking and texting impair driving whether a phone is hand-held or not. 

But the question remains: Why is this the case? Here’s one possible answer, from an unusual source. 

Broadcast version of story that aired Thursday, July 20, 2013

Robert Rosenberger’s theory on driver distraction is outlined in the April 2013 issues of two  academic journals: Communications of the ACM and IEEE Technology & Society Magazine.