Is Talking on the Phone While Driving as Dangerous as Texting?

Man with obscured face talking on phone while driving

It’s no secret that texting and driving is dangerous. To avoid this hazard, many drivers are choosing to call rather than text. But is this the right thing to do? Could talking on the phone while driving be as dangerous as texting?

A Cognitive Distraction

Talking on the phone while driving feels safer than texting. It’s easy to assume that it carries about the same risk as talking to a passenger. But that’s not quite true. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), talking on the phone while driving significantly increases the risk of cognitive distractions. The NSC found that even when a driver on the phone is looking at the road, they fail to notice about half of the driving environment.

More specifically, drivers who talk on the phone are much more likely to ignore traffic signals and follow too closely while being less likely to notice potential hazards. Like daydreaming, talking on the phone gives you a kind of tunnel vision that makes your driving more reactive than proactive.

Is All Talking Distracting?

While talking on the phone is a clearly identified driving distraction, it begs the question as to whether talking to a passenger has the same effect. According to one analysis that examined 93 distracted driving studies, talking to a passenger and talking on the phone have an almost identical impact on driver performance.

Just as voice dictation is as distracting as manual texting, talking to a passenger is as distracting as talking on the phone. The message is clear. While traffic safety doesn’t necessarily require that you drive in silence, you should be aware of situations where you need heightened focus and respond accordingly.

If you were injured by a distracted driver, let us fight for you. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Bryan car accident lawyer from The Payne Law Group, don’t hesitate to contact our firm at (979) 300-7406 or send us an email.

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