Mobile telephones and other communication devices and their impact on traffic safety – A review of the literature

It is difficult to say how dangerous it is for drivers to talk or text while they are driving since it depends on the situational context and the driver's capabilities. Recent studies indicate that the occurrence of crashes, near-crashes and safety critical events is correlated with handling the telephone (dialing, texting), but not with just talking on a mobile phone. This does not mean, however, that talking on the phone while driving is safe in all situations and for all drivers. It is more likely to be at least in part a sign that drivers have capabilities to self-regulate their telephoning behaviour.

Mobile phone conversation increases reaction times and inattention. In addition, texting and dialing require the driver to look at the device and away from the road, leading to reduced vehicle control and increased driver inattention.

Most drivers think that they are more suited than the average on handling their mobile phone whilst driving. A majority also believes that it is safer to use a hands-free phone than a handheld, even though there are many studies that suggest that hands-free usage is no better than handheld.


  • People in the transport system
  • ,
  • Traffic safety
  • ,
  • Mobile phone
  • ,
  • Use
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  • Distraction
  • ,
  • Driver
  • ,
  • Behaviour
  • ,
  • Risk
  • ,
  • Safety
  • ,
  • Prohibition
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  • Research area: People in the transport system, Traffic safety
  • Published: 2011-11-21
  • VTI-code: R729A

VTI rapport 729A (56 pages + 2 Appendices including 3 pages). Written in English with summaries in Swedish, French, German and Spanish. Note that there is also a full version in Swedish, VTI rapport 729.

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