A team of psychologists at the University of Illinois have been investigating how driving is affected by simultaneous mobile phone use.
Previous research has found the use of hands-free mobiles has a significant detrimental effect on driving. Researchers assumed that speaking is a more complex cognitive function and so the detrimental effect would be greater than listening. But this new research has found that listening causes an equally strong effect.
The psychological research has been backed up by investigations of those involved in road traffic accidents. Recent findings published in the British Medical Journal showed that using a mobile phone up to 10 minutes before a crash was associated with a fourfold increase in likelihood of crashing. This fourfold increase was the same whether the drivers were using a hands-free hand-held mobile.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Banning just hand-held mobile phone use while driving has probably been largely a waste of time – unless it is a stepping stone to a complete ban.