New research from the UK shows that talking on a handheld mobile phone has a greater impact on drivers’ skills than being over the drink-drive limit. Reaction times were 30% slower when using a mobile than when over the legal alcohol limit.
The Transport Research Laboratory carried out blind tests on twenty drivers – some received alcohol and some received ‘placebo’. Drivers using mobiles found it difficult to keep their speed constant and to keep other cars at a safe distance. Even those using hands-free kits were still worse than drink drivers.
This research follows Ireland’s recent decision to ban drivers from even carrying a mobile phone without a hands-free kit. Other countries may now be more willing to follow suit. This leaves mobile handset manufacturers highly likely to commission research, in an effort to show that hands-free devices are safe and effective.