Using a hands-free kit while driving is "just as distracting" as holding mobile device, claims study

By midian182 ยท 14 replies
Jun 8, 2016
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  1. Hands-free kits for vehicles are supposed to remove the dangers that come with driving while conducting a phone call. But new research from psychologists has found that having a hands-free conversation is just as distracting for drivers as holding a phone in their hands.

    A research team from the University of Sussex in the UK found that when drivers had conversations that required them to visualize what they were talking about, they were using the part of the brain used to watch the road.

    The researchers say the study indicated that conversations can take up more of the brain’s visual processing power than previously thought, causing drivers to miss dangers they would have normally noticed.

    The experiment involved 20 male and 40 female volunteers taking part in video tests while sitting in a car seat behind a steering wheel. One group was allowed to ‘drive’ undisturbed, while another two groups were asked questions from a loudspeaker placed 3 feet away.

    On average, those engaged in conversations took just under a second longer to respond to hazards such as pedestrians stepping out into the road and swerving cars. It was discovered that when drivers were asked to recall something, like where they left an item, they concentrated on an area four times smaller than normal because they were picturing the room where they left it.

    The lead researcher said the results make a case for all cell phone use – both hand-held and hands-free - to be banned from vehicles.

    If drivers are so easily distracted by conversations, maybe we should consider a ban on talking to passengers? Thankfully (or sadly, depending on who you’re in a car with) this won’t be necessary; according to researchers, talking to another person isn’t as distracting because both people stop the conversation when a driver needs to concentrate.

    Image credit: Monika Wisniewska / shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Addict Posts: 145   +133

    "40 female volunteers".

    Obviously going to skew the numbers ;P
    Milest, mojorisin23 and davislane1 like this.
  3. Talking to passengers,checking watch,hot woman or men walking in the road,cellphone,seeing a building that looks great,changing the radio,checking what speed you are doing,drinking a can of soda. + many more.

    I'm not sure why people drive it's obviously so difficult,maybe we should just go back to the horse and cart.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    Or evening them out if you ask some people... because apparently men can't multitask as well as women.

    But yeah we already knew this, well... at least those of us intelligent enough to realize when we are distracted from driving. Even thinking intensely about something is distracting while driving. Or driving when you have to urinate... or getting road hea.... uhh. Never mind.
  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,691

    Well Duh! I've thought this the whole time. Hands free only complicates things.
    mojorisin23 likes this.
  6. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +136

    There are people who shouldn't drive more then 50HP in a tiny car, there are people who should never drive a large vehicle or van or SUV, there are people that shouldn't drive with the radio on, and there are people who shouldn't ever drive on the phone. You could do studies forever, there are always 'examples'. And there are simply people who get licenses who should never be behind the wheel...
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,325   +1,972

    For long laborious drives like from one city to another on the Interstate, I think it could be a God send, especially for the long haul trucking industry, but for everything else I have to question how many people will really rely upon it, much less resist the temptation to just take the wheel and the heck with the rest!
  8. J spot

    J spot TS Addict Posts: 149   +77

    Working in a bank setting before cellphones were as frequently used, and then having that horrible job again now. I really get to see just how distracted people are when on their phones. They forget about the transaction and the people behind them. They just get incredibly distracted.

    They mentioned on the article that it's not as distracting when there's a passenger, because the passenger recognizes when it's time to talk. That's also the case where I work. So I found that interesting. The only time it's not true is when it's a bunch of teenager types who are goofing around. The focus can get lost, but not as much as when on a phone.
  9. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,301   +428

    No ****...took a study? When they going to do the study on self driving cars...?
  10. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +648

    Just like the sample photo, hands free, means NO HANDS.
    Reehahs and Arris like this.
  11. Ranger1st

    Ranger1st TS Evangelist Posts: 348   +124

    So all those year I spent in cars talking to people IN the car with me.. was a total distraction.. man, good thing I've never had an accident, like everyone else in the world has.. oh wait. What a ridiculous study, next they are going to study the effects of a sneeze or a yawn and make sure to get the HTA changed to include a fine for dangerous driving because of involuntary bodily reaction. I wonder if the jail term for singing in your car will greater or less then a drunk driving conviction.
    p51d007 likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    We don't need more laws.... damn place where I live passed a "no texting while driving" law. There is already a distracted driving law that covers ALL of these scenarios.... freaking stupid people just don't realize what "distracted" really means.
    p51d007 likes this.
  13. UltraModernGuy

    UltraModernGuy TS Member Posts: 24   +14

    Something that is always overlooked is the fact that nothing has tactile buttons anymore. Having a full touch panel or phone in the car forces you to take your eyes off the road and look at what you are touching. Not too many years ago, car stereos and phones had buttons where you could easily navigate through menus and controls without having to look at the device.
    IAMTHESTIG and drufense like this.
  14. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,304   +648

    Or changing the radio station, changing an 8 track tape (yeah, I go back THAT far).
    Here's one that gets me. Everyone talks about distracted driving. Most states that I know of, have an ordinance called
    C&I (careless & imprudent) driving. It could be for anything, INCLUDING distracted driving! But, states, in a rush to play favor to brain dead citizens (and to enhance REVENUE) enact new laws they have no desire in enforcing, except for said revenue stream.
    Of course, politicians will be EXEMPT most likely. The other thing, is if law enforcement, says this is a dangerous way to operate a motor vehicle, then they should LEAD by example. NO talking on their two way radio, NO use of their mobile computers while in motion, and, NO use of a cell phone. I constantly see police officers, fire trucks, ambulances etc doing the above. Just because they pin a badge on you, does that automatically make you a better driver?
    EQUAL protection, under the law, not SPECIAL protection. What's good for one, should be good for all.
    Just use the C&I laws for distracted driving.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,255   +454

    Good point.... a lot of cars are going to the touchscreen "infotainment" system.

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