According to a research conducted with a help of a simulator on a multilane highway of 24 miles, two lane traffic and on and off ramps showed that talking on a mobile phone even if it is hands free is very distracting to drivers.
Mobile phones are even more distracting as compared to chatting with co passengers according to a University of Utah research report released on Monday. 41 adults along with 41 friends of theirs as co passengers were studied and analyzed for driving performance as a part of their cell phone studies by the researchers headed by Frank Drews, a Ph D.
The impact on the driver from a passenger talking to him and from listening and conversing on a cell phone are different stated the paper. They in fact impact the driver’s strategic, tactical and operational levels of performance said the study which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Three scenes were set up by the researchers including conducting conversations on a cell phone which was hands free, another with no conversation and one with conversation with co passengers. Conditions in which the test was conducted resembled a real highway.
Driving sequences lasted for about ten minutes to finish. Upon reaching a rest area eight miles from start, drivers were told to move away from the simulated highway. Those who were on the cell phones were found to under perform as compared to those who were chatting with co passengers. The reason for this according to researchers could be that drivers may actually feel a comfort and safety level with a person sitting next to them.