CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA - WTAJ asked three drivers, including main anchor John Clay, to take a driving test on Penn States test track.
Penn State Transportation expert Philip Garvey decided where to place the cones and challenge the drivers. Aubry Tallon is 17 years old, from State College. Shes had her license for 5 months. Cathy Houseman is 26 years old from Altoona. John Clay is 37 years old from Altoona.
They hit the course for three laps, in random order. One with no distractions, one while talking on a cell phone and one while texting. They were all told to run the course as fast as they felt comfortable.
After the exercise, each driver said the "no distractions" lap was by far the most comfortable, handling the vehicle, and manuvering around the cones. Our expert agreed. He says the drivers were faster and more accurate when they werent talking on the phone or texting.
Next was talking and driving. It was difficult for Aubry and Cathy to drive with one hand. That affected speed and control. For all of the drivers, using the phone reduced peripheral vision and the ability to turn their head. But the big challenge was texting and driving. None of us had any hope of having a text conversation while driving.
They couldnt take their eyes off the road.
Cathy couldnt drive with one hand, and she missed a turn. It was the same for all of the drivers. Trying to look at the text was completely distracting. While none of the drivers thought that driving and texting was safe to begin with, this test sealed it.
The test proved a point to all three drivers and our transportation expert. Driving and trying to use a cell phone just wasnt safe. Special thanks to the volunteers and the Thomas Larson Transportation Institute at Penn State.