Using a Mobile Phone and Driving

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Using a Mobile Phone and Driving 

It’s frustrating to encounter someone driving very badly, and then discover that they’re chatting away on their phone or texting. But just how dangerous is it to use a phone while driving?

The latest official statistics (for 2010) show that, out of a total of 1,850 road deaths, careless driving contributed to 370 of them. But no recent statistics for phone-specific accidents are available from the government, so we did our own testing.

A substantial body of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and substantially increases the risk of the driver crashing.

Driving using mobile phone when driving 

Drivers who use a mobile phone, whether hand-held or hands-free:

  • are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
  • fail to see road signs
  • fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
  • are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
  • react more slowly, take longer to brake and longer to stop
  • are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
  • feel more stressed and frustrated They are also four times more likely to crash, injuring or killing themselves and other people.

Using a hands-free phone while driving does not significantly reduce the risks because the problems are caused mainly by the mental distraction and divided attention of taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.


Never use a handheld phone while driving – it’s dangerous and illegal.

  • Hands-free phone use is legal, but can be as distracting as using a handheld phone.
  • Academic evidence suggests education is more effective than paying a fine.

Take the test yourself and see how well you do using this short video example. 




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