According to a survey conducted by ETSC’s Swiss member BFU/BPA/UPI, 73% of drivers say they use hands-free devices to make phone calls while driving, but only 5% of them consider this practice to be very dangerous. Christoph Jöhr, head of road user behaviour at the organisation, commented that “drivers clearly underestimate the dangers associated with using this type of device while driving”.
Although legal in Switzerland and many other countries, research shows that talking on a hands-free phone while driving is just as dangerous as using a handset. In fact, drivers remain dangerously distracted even after they’ve hung up. Decades of research have demonstrated drivers on the phone are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than undistracted drivers, regardless of whether they’re using a hand-held or hands-free system. This increased risk lasts for around five minutes after the call has ended, suggesting that interacting with the technology isn’t the only issue. It seems that phone conversations take the driver’s focus away from their primary task of driving, even after they’ve hung up.