Sorry folks, science says hands-free calls are still a big driving distraction

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 28, 2016, 7:34pm CST
Sorry folks, science says hands-free calls are still a big driving distraction

Hands-free technology is largely viewed as the solution to phone-addicted drivers, but another study has surfaced that disagrees. According to QUT’s study, which utilized the CARRS-Q Advanced Driving Simulator as part of its research, hands-free phone use while driving is still quite a distraction, delaying reaction time significantly compared to those who weren’t using any phones, hands-free or otherwise.

The study was performed by Queensland University of Technology School of Civil Engineering’s Dr. Shimul Haque, who recently unveiled his findings at a distracted driving seminar. Based on the study, drivers using hands-free phone technology had the same poor reaction time as drivers using their phone without the technology — about a 40-percent delayed reaction compared to other drivers.

Putting that into an easier to envision example, a driver would lose about 11 meters at 40km/hr compared to a non-distracted driver — meaning someone on the phone would hit the brakes 11m later and lose that potential stopping distance. Those 11 meters could mean the difference between stopping a car in time or ramming into a pedestrian or another car. These distracted drivers were also noted for excess braking.

As you’ve probably guessed, the delayed reaction is similar between hands-free and hands-on phone calls because its not the actual holding-the-phone part that’s the issue. Holding a conversation — regardless of whether both hands are on the wheel — takes away a bit of your attention from the road and redirects it to holding the conversation, reducing the cognitive power you can dedicate solely to driving.

SOURCE: QUT


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2 Responses to Sorry folks, science says hands-free calls are still a big driving distraction

  1. Hitting the brakes is not the only way to avoid collision. Steering your way free is often the best option, and I’m pretty sure in this case a handheld phone will hamper your efforts.

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