So texting is out…but what about jazz and driving?

Beginning today in Washington state, using a cell phone while driving becomes a primary offense, and if caught, you can receive a ticket for $124.

I have read and heard a variety of reasons as to why using a phone on the road is a bad idea. The most glaring might be the comparison of texting while driving safety-wise being the equivalent to having a blood alcohol content somewhere between a .08 and a .13.

This lead me to wonder (tongue in cheek) if there was any information about the safety of listening to jazz while driving.

Oddly enough, there is, sort of. Privilege Insurance conducted a study of drivers, and asked them what music they listened to. The safest drivers happened to listen to classical, jazz, easy listening, and indie/folk. The most unsafe drivers listened to indie/rock, dance/house music, or R & B.

Dr. Nichola Dibben, a music psychologist who conducted the survey on behalf of Privilege, went on to suggest that overly complex music, or music with emotive vocals or music that has little repetition, can lead to greater driver aggression and reckless motoring behavior.

Dr. Dibben went on to say that music was however better than silence or talk radio, and can help actually keep the driver attentive, and that singing along can actually help keep eyes on the road.

In a separate study, Israeli researchers in 2002 concluded that drivers should stick to songs with similar beats per minute (BPM) to their heart. For example, if a heart beats 60 BPM, and the tempo of a song beats 120 BPM, then the driver listening to that song is more likely to be reckless and increase in driving speed. On the other hand, music that is very slow can keep you from staying awake, the study suggests.

So what jazz might you avoid listening to, according to these studies?

Perhaps something like this?

I must admit, you would be hard to find a jazz song playing in my car that clocks in less than 180 BPM. I hope my insurance rates don’t go up.

One comment on “So texting is out…but what about jazz and driving?

  1. Robin Lloyd

    The only real problem I’ve encountered is when I’m listening to Latin Jazz in the car, and start to use the steering wheel as a conga drum substitute. I’m likely to hit the horn, and startle those folks who are texting at stoplights…they get mad.
    And, now that I think of it, those tricky arrangements in multiple time signatures may affect my accelerator foot as I try to count it down…but I haven’t hit anything, yet…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *