The Government is being urged to ban all mobile phone use by drivers as new evidence finds talking on a hands-free phone can be just as distracting as using a hand-held mobile.
The research, carried out from psychologists at the University of Sussex, shows that drivers who are engaged in conversations that spark their visual imagination are much less able to spot and react to potential hazards.
When the drivers involved in the study were asked about a subject that required them to visualise it, they focused on a smaller area of the road ahead of them and failed to see hazards, even when they looked directly at them.
The study was published in the Transportation Research Journal, with the researchers claiming their evidence shows conversations may use more of the brain’s visual processing resources than previously understood.
Previous research has estimated that up to 22% of crashes could be caused by some kind of distraction and drivers who perform a secondary task at the wheel, like using a mobile, are up to three times more likely to crash.
Ack to Fleetworld, published 8 June 2016