Naturalistic driving research involves the use of sophisticated in-vehicle video cameras and sensors, which record participants as they normally drive and allow researchers to analyse driver behaviour in the seconds leading up to crashes or near-crashes.

This pioneering style of research developed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has provided valuable insights in to the relative risks associated with the variety of distractions faced by drivers, including the various tasks associated with mobile phone use like texting or reaching for a phone.

The findings to date show that visually demanding tasks, which require a driver to look away from the road multiple times, such as texting, reaching for a loose phone in the car or dialling a phone, are the most dangerous.

The studies also show that during real-life driving, hands-free listening and talking on a mobile phone is not particularly risky.

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