Alberta Study Highlights Dangers of Driving With a Hands-Free Phone

Posted on May 28, 2013

Yet another study casts aspersions on the practice of driving while using a hands-free device to carry on a conversation.  It provides even more evidence that even when our eyes are focused on the road, our minds might still be on the conversation at hand, a situation that could lead to danger.

This particular study comes from researchers at the University of Alberta.  26 males ranging from the ages 18 to 50 were tasked with stepping in to a simulator to complete a driving course at local Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.  Two tests were set up:  a course free of distraction and a course in which the drivers were asked to carry on a casual conversation with someone on the other end of a hands-free device.

The results are eye-opening.  Every single person who participated in the test made an error while in the midst of the simulation.  And these errors weren’t minor either.  Not only were drivers unable to control their speed, but red light running and unsignaled lane changes were common.  Two crashes even took place.

These errors coincided with an uptick in brain activity and an increase in heart rate.  It would seem that the mere act of speaking with someone on the phone is enough to imperil driving ability.  Even if you have a hands-free device in your vehicle, you still might think twice about using it when in transit.

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