New research has found that using a hands-free system while driving could be just as dangerous as operating a hand-held mobile.
Published in the Transportation Research Journal, the findings show that drivers who are engaged in conversation when behind the wheel are less likely to spot potential hazards or problems in the road.
Researchers found that undertaking conversations uses sections of the brain’s visual processing resources – much more than they had previously thought. As such, the driver’s capacity to focus on driving is reduced, making them much more likely to miss problems in the road.
This is also different to having a chatty passenger sat next to you. While a passenger will moderate their speech when they notice hazards in the road, someone at the other end of the phone will not and therefore distract the driver even more. Oblivious to what is happening on the road, a person on the line will continue to speak despite the driver being under increasing amounts of stress.
Lucy Amos, research advisor for Brake, said: “Distracted driving is a major cause behind road crashes; pulling the driver’s attention away from the road and its potential hazards, potentially leading to fatal outcomes. This new study is only the latest of many which adds weight to extending the existing legalisation to cover all mobile phone use within a vehicle, not just the use of hand-held mobile devices.
“We call on the government to take action and remove the clear and present danger of mobile phones on our roads.”
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.