The white paper does an excellent job of summarizing and explaining the research findings from over 30 studies that have examined the cognitive distractions associated with conversing on a hands-free cell phone while driving.
Among other things, the report examines:
- Why drivers miss important driving cues.
- What happens when people switch attention between tasks.
- How the brain handles multi-tasking.
- How cell phones differ from talking to passengers of listening to music while driving
Here are some of the conclusions of the report:
- Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes.
- Hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving.
- Hands-free devices do not eliminate cognitive distraction.
- Driving while talking on cell phones - handheld and hands-free - increase risk of injury and property crashes fourfold.
- Research evidence is compelling when studies of varying research designs are conducted in different cultures and driving environments and have similar results.
- Drivers believe their own crash risk is lower than other drivers.
The white paper concludes with possible prevention steps. At this point there does not appear to be a safe way to talk or text while driving.
So, as Tom and Ray would say, "HANG UP AND DRIVE".