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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Fumbling with buttons while driving is linked to increased risk of crashes, as reported in The Wall Street Journal. But does the kind of music make a difference?

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University recruited 85 eighteen-year-olds, half male. Each drove six challenging road trips, 40 minutes long, accompanied by an experienced driving instructor.

On four trips music was played, two with fast-paced vocals selected from the drivers’ playlists and two with background music designed to increase safety. No music was played on two trips. Participants rated their moods and in-car data recorders analyzed driver behavior and errors.

All 85 subjects committed at least 3 errors; 27 received verbal warnings and 17 required steering or braking by the instructor.

With their own music, 98% made errors; without music there were 92% and with background music 77% made errors—speeding, following too closely.

With traffic accidents responsible for most teen deaths, this research is important.

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