Danger of hands-free mobiles while driving

Organisations like the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have long been campaigning for the complete ban of mobile phone use while driving. Research carried out as early 1991 by The Foundation for Traffic Safety pointed to the deleterious effects of mobile phone use while driving.

So called ‘driver’s organisations’ like the RAC and the AA have opposed complete bans in the past because phone use while driving is ‘like applying make-up, drinking or shaving’. These are statements for which they have no scientific evidence. They are simply guesses as to what they hope might be true. The mounting scientific evidence present a different picture.

New research published this month into hands-free phones makes it clear exactly what effect their use has on drivers. Their study has found that driver’s cognitive function is significantly impaired, especially in older participants. Drivers were found to be significantly less aware of developing situations on the road, a major contributor to accidents.

The continuing reluctance of the government to act decisively seems to come down to how much people love their cars. The current half-way house in the UK of just banning hand-held mobiles will simply result in more people losing their lives.

> From The Univesity of Illinois

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 15 November 2004

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