Mobile Phones Distract Drivers More Than Fellow Passengers

Talking to passengers while driving is usually less distracting then talking on a mobile phone and even hands-free devices don’t ensure safe and secure driving, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the ‘Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied’, unveiled that talking on cellphones is more distracting and dangerous, than talking to even the most talkative passengers while driving.

A team of researchers from the University of Utah, led by Dr Frank Drews, carried out a series of experiments, in which they assessed the performance of 41 drivers who drove simulators for 24-mile course on multilane highway, while talking on their hands-free device, having conversation with their friends in car, and a silent passenger.

The experiments have shown some striking results with drivers talking on their phones missed their stoppages almost half the time, and were drifted from their lanes quite frequently.

While, drivers conversing with their friends fared in a much better manner, as in addition to minimized drifts, friends also ensured that drivers didn’t miss their destinations.

In addition, the researchers called passengers as “second-set of eyes” for drivers that help in effective and safe navigation, and remind them about destination stoppages.

Citing the differences of impact of mobile phone calls, and conversing with passengers on driver’s performance, the study quoted, “These differences are apparent at the operational, tactical, and strategic levels of performance”.

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