When a person is talking on his cell phone, but has a passenger in his car whose eyes are focused on the road, he could probably be safer and less likely to be involved in an accident, than if he is using a cell phone while driving alone.
A new study that was conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada worked at identifying ways of helping reduce or mitigate accident risks when a person is using a cell phone at the wheel. The point of the study was not to condone the use of cell phones behind the wheel. However, as cell phone use continues unabated, and people continue to ignore the dangers of distracted driving, it is important to look for other ways of helping reduce accident risks.
In the study, the researchers tested their driving behavior in 4 conditions, using a driving simulator. In the first case, there was a single motorist alone in the car while in the second case, the driver was accompanied by a passenger while he had a conversation. In the third case, the driver had a conversation on a cell phone using an audio-only connection. In the fourth case, the driver had a cell phone conversation using a one-way video connection that allowed the person with whom he was having a conversation to see the driver’s perspective of the road, just like he was a passenger in the car.
The researchers found that the safest driving occurred when the motorist was driving all alone, with no cell phones to distract him. However, when he compared the other types of situations, the researchers found that talking to a passenger in the car while driving was less safe than driving all alone with no passengers. However, it was safer than using an audio-only cell phone while driving. The video phone call worked almost as well as having a passenger sitting right next to the driver in the car.