Dangerous use of mobile phones and other communication devices while driving: A toolbox of counter-measures

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The use of mobile phone and similar devices while driving has been a topic of discussion and research for several years. It is now an established fact that driving performance is deteriorated due to distraction but no clear conclusions can yet be drawn concerning influence on crash rates. Better studies on this relationship is needed. Most countries in Europe and many countries elsewhere have introduced different types of bans for handheld devices. Sweden has, however, no such bans. VTI was commissioned by the Swedish Government to outline possible means to reduce the dangerous usage of mobile phones and other communication devices while driving as alternatives to banning. This task was a result of a previous VTI-state-of-the-art review of research on mobile phone and other communication device usage while driving. One of the findings in the review was that bans on handheld phones did not appear to reduce the number of crashes.

Eighteen different countermeasures in three main areas were suggested. (1) Technical solutions such as countermeasures directed towards the infrastructure, the vehicle and the communication device. (2) Education and information, describing different ways to increase knowledge and understanding among stakeholders and different driver categories. (3) Different possibilities for how society, industry and organisations can influence the behaviour of individuals, via policies, rules, recommendations and incentives. Our conclusion is that a combination of different countermeasures is needed – where education and information to the drivers are combined with support and incentives for a safe usage of different communication devices.

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