The effects of a mobile telephone task on driver behaviour in a car following situation

Accid Anal Prev. 1995 Oct;27(5):707-15. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(95)00026-v.


The effects of a mobile telephone task on young and elderly drivers' choice reaction time, headway, lateral position, and workload were studied when the subjects were driving in a car-following situation, in the VTI driving simulator. It was found that a mobile telephone task had a negative effect upon the drivers' choice reaction time, and that the effect was more pronounced for the elderly drivers. Furthermore, the subjects did not compensate for their increased reaction time by increasing their headway during the phone task. The subjects' mental workload, as measured by the NASA-TLX, increased as a function of the mobile telephone task. No effect on the subjects' lateral position could be detected. Taken together, these results indicate that the accident risk can increase when a driver is using the mobile telephone in a car following situation. The reasons for the increased risk, and possible ways to eliminate it, are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attention*
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orientation
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time*
  • Telephone*
  • Workload / psychology