Listening to music while operating a vehicle is only considered distracted driving in certain circumstances. Deciding whether a driver is distracted entails looking at key variables along a spectrum of considerations. These variables include the driver’s age and driving experience, what style of music is listened to and the volume.
On one end of the spectrum, scientists have found that teens who blare their favorite upbeat-tempo music while driving are more likely to be distracted. At the other end, mature, experienced drivers listening to low-to-medium volume music that matches their heart rate (about 60-80 beats per minute) have been found to drive more defensively than when not listening to music at all.
Age and Driving Experience
Scientists Brodsky and Slor studied the effect of age on driving with music. They collected eighty-five drivers, ages 17 and 18, who held drivers licenses for about seven months. They then specially wired a car to monitor each recruit cruising their assigned routes.
After careful data collection and observation, researchers concluded: “Young-novice drivers remain more prone to distraction as they are less efficient in processing visual information needed to drive safely while engaging in other non-driving tasks – such as music listening.”
A different experiment, undertaken by Ayça Berfu Ünal of the University of Groningen, found that experienced, mature drivers were less negatively effected by music. In fact, in some cases defensive driving was even improved, negating any need to involve an accident attorney Las Vegas.
The effects of listening to loud music while driving was studied by Hearing Instrument Specialist Jimmy Stewart. He says the brain can only truly focus on one main activity at a time. When a person hears a song they like, their attention is turned to it. The eyes and hands often follow, to reach the volume. Distraction is compounded when music is extremely loud, obliterating other necessary sounds like sirens and screams.
Style of Music
The teenage research volunteers in the study were permitted to select their own music. They played these much louder than when music was provided to them. It was confirmed again that loud, fast-tempo music affects adrenaline production. When adrenaline is increased, mood is elevated. Elevated mood translates into risky driving behavior.
When the teens chose their own style and volume of music, they had significantly more incidents that could end up involving an accident attorney Las Vegas. They sped, tailgated and weaved in and out of traffic. Thus, being an inexperienced driver and cruising the roads while blaring one’s favorite music can indeed be considered distracted driving.