Answering The Phone Is Not Safer Than Texting

17:34' 14-09-2017
A road safety study by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) reveals half of all drivers believe that answering a ringing phone is not as risky as texting while driving.

    A mobile phone in a cradle on a car dash


    The study surveyed 484 drivers, asking each what high-risk tasks they attempted to undertake while driving. Locating a ringing phone, checking the caller, and rejecting or answering calls were the most common answers.

    Researcher associate Oscar Ovideo-Trespalacios said drivers not only answered their phones, but carried on the conversation. In every hour of driving, drivers would pick up their phone and look at it. Mr Ovideo-Trespalacios was concerned about this, and said answering the phone is the riskiest thing a driver can do.

    The research also revealed that after two seconds of looking at the phone, the crash risk increased four-fold after every second. He told ABC Radio Brisbane that, although it was hard to “quantify exactly” how many crashes are linked to mobile use, distraction is a factor in 25 to 30% of accidents.

    Mr Ovideo-Trespalacios wants laws to be introduced to make people turn off their phones before they get into a car. Current laws against mobile phone use while driving are not working well enough, because 70% of the drivers surveyed said they would cover a mobile with their hands to avoid police seeing them.

    Many drivers acknowledged that texting while driving was risky, but did not see a risk in other acts, such as answering the phone or looking at the phone's screen. However, this is just as dangerous because it means they are taking their eyes off the road.

    Driving is a visual task, Mr Ovideo-Trespalacios said. “So if we're not looking at the road there will be more accidents.”

    Huey L

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Keywords: driversqueensland university of technologytexting

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