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Is hands-free talking on the phone while driving more distracting than talking to a passenger?

As our world becomes busier and the technology in our car’s fancier, drivers are becoming more and more distracted.

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Professor Samuel Charlton says “there is something uniquely distracting about talking on the phone”. Source: Seven Sharp

Last night, Seven Sharp asked the question: Is hands-free talking on the phone while driving more distracting than talking to a passenger?

Professor Samuel Charlton from the Waikato University School of Psychology says “there is something uniquely distracting about talking on the phone”.

“Passengers can actually help a driver in some situations. If you think about what a phone call involves, it’s very long sentences and can be quite involved.

“Passengers will instinctively pause when they see a driver coming up to something difficult and often passengers are talking about the drive which helps,” Charlton says.

He also noted that people are using their phones more often while driving to check apps and social media.

To help stop distracted driving, the fine for texting while behind the wheel last month rose from $80 to $150.

Police issued more than 400,000 infringement notices for using a phone while driving last year.