Brodsky maintains that choice of music can have a major influence on driving, and, in some circumstances, lead to serious and even fatal outcomes. In fact, the National Higway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driver inattention, including music distraction, is a contributing factor in 25 to 30 percent of the 1.2 million crashes per year in the US.
"The car is the only place in the world you can die just because you're listening to the wrong kind of music," says Professor Warren Brodsky, director of music psychology in the Department of the Arts at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He has just published the first comprehensive textbook on music and its impact on driving, "Driving with Music: Cognitive-Behavioral Implications" (Ashgate Publishing Company).
"Both novice and experienced drivers must be more aware of how music influences their driving behavior and vehicle control," Brodsky explains in the book. While there has been a lot of research focused on distracted driving using cellphones, texting, talking and driving under the influence, this new publication addresses the contributing factors of music to traffic violations and human error.
Brodsky maintains that choice of music can have a major influence on driving, and, in some circumstances, lead to serious and even fatal outcomes. In fact, the National Higway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that driver inattention, including music distraction, is a contributing factor in 25 to 30 percent of the 1.2 million crashes per year in the United States. Similar NHTSA statistics from 2009 indicate that more than 5,400 peopele were killed, and 515,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes attributed to distracted driving.
Driving With Music offers the first full-length study of the topic, with critical analysis and fresh insights on the most current research. Among some of the key topics addressed are:
- Ill effects of in-car music listening
- Research on the safest and most dangerous driving songs
- Types of in-car music listeners (sensoral, perceptual or imaginal)
- "Car-aoke"—a burgeoning phenomenon
- Ultimate list of car songs
"The research is irrefutable that listening to music in the car affects the way you drive," Brodsky explains. "But whether it's Beethoven, Basie or Bieber is irrelevant. Ideally drivers should choose tunes that do not trigger distracting thoughts, memories, emotions, or hand drumming along to the beat while driving."
Brodsky was born in Philadelphia, trained as an orchestra percussionist, elementary school music teacher, and music psychotherapist. Following a 10-year clinical practice, Brodsky completed a Ph.D. in psychology. In addition to his extensive research credentials, he has conducted studies for Genral Motors on music and branding.