Effect of Cellular Telephone Conversations and Other Potential Interference on Reaction Time in a Braking Response

Accid Anal Prev. 2003 Jul;35(4):495-500. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(02)00027-1.


This experiment studied the effect of phone conversations and other potential interference on reaction time (RT) in a braking response. Using a laboratory station which simulated the foot activity in driving, 22 research participants were requested to release the accelerator pedal and depress the brake pedal as quickly as possible following the activation of a red brake lamp. Mean reaction time was determined for five conditions: (a) control, (b) listening to a radio, (c) conversing with a passenger, (d) conversing using a hand-held phone, and (e) conversing using a hands-free phone. Results indicated that conversation, whether conducted in-person or via a cellular phone caused RT to slow, whereas listening to music on the radio did not.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention*
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Verbal Behavior*