Validation of the static load test for event detection during hands-free conversation
Authors: Richard A. Young, Linda S. Angell, John M. Sullivan, Sean Seaman, Li Hsieh.
To see if visual event reaction times (RTs) during handsfree conversation conditions in the Enhanced Static Load Test (ESLT) can predict RTs in similar conditions in on-road driving. Methods. Brake reaction times to random center and side light events were measured while watching a driving video, attempting to keep a marker in the center of the lane with a steering wheel, answering the phone by pressing a button, and carrying on neutral or angry handsfree conversations in covert (silent) or overt mode on a hands-free phone device. Open-road tests were conducted in traffic for subjects with similar side and front light events, with foot reaction times measured while engaged in the same secondary tasks and conditions. Results. Mean RTs for the task segments in the lab were predictive of the mean RTs for the corresponding task segments in the on-road test (r = 0.90, df = 16, p < 0.000001). Conclusion. This study validates the Enhanced Static Load Test as predictive of visual event RTs during open-road driving for the range of experimental conditions and tasks considered.