We're talking with Dr Gemma Briggs, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University, about distracted driving.
Dr Gemma Briggs’ research found mobile phone conversations, as opposed to conversations with a passenger, encourage a driver to create mental images - using the same cognitive resources we need for accurate visual perception of the driving environment. This means competition in drivers’ brains for limited resources.
It’s not just the responsibility of individual drivers to change, argues Gemma, it’s about changing public acceptability of mobile phone use. She says mobile phone legislation has been inadequate from its inception, despite the evidence that hands-free is as dangerous as handheld phone use. This, she says, is partly due to pressure from fleet operators to keep drivers available by phone, and motor vehicle manufacturers aren’t helping matters with in-car entertainment and interactivity.
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