Talking on the phone: Distracted driving or overreaction?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2020 | Distracted Driving

Many states, including Pennsylvania, have implemented a hands-free law to persuade drivers focus on the road instead of their phones.

While this law is a great step in the right direction, phone calls are still permitted. Phone conversations can become extremely distracting for the driver. Calls can cause serious accidents, even when you are following the hands-free law.

How distracting is a phone call?

A driver, while talking on the phone, triples their likelihood of getting into a car accident, according to a study by the University of Illinois.

The Illinois test examined multiple situations. Even when the driver was distracted by a passenger, the passenger acted as a second pair of eyes. They could warn the driver of an oncoming obstacles. With a phone call, the other person could not act as a second pair of eyes. If the conversation turns emotional, the likelihood of a crash only increases.

Why is a phone call distracting?

The main reason a phone call is a big distraction on drivers is because the driver’s reaction time slows. Many drivers often have to stop the conversation when an obstacle is present. A driver’s reaction time can be up to 9 percent slower than a driver without a distraction. This is because the brain can’t focus on multiple things at once perfectly, so reaction time slips.

Drivers are often on the phone while they drive. For many, it’s the one time of day they feel they can catch up with friends and loved ones. It doesn’t seem dangerous, especially when these drivers are following the hands-free law. It can, however, lead to very serious consequences. Think twice before you pick up the phone. Your loved ones would rather you go about your commute unscathed.