4 thoughts on “The great handsfree debate”

  1. Hi Om, I have observed my own talking/driving at length (guess that means ANOTHER process was also happening) and I have found that my attention on the road is actually split such that driving while holding a handset is the absolute worst – I would guess only 50% of my brain is driving. But driving with a headset is significantly better – I would say that 75% of my attention is on the driving. Then of course, with no phone at all, 100% is on the driving. That oversimplification doesn’t take into account wandering thoughts which tend to pull the focus off the driving though. Have you ever been somewhere in your car and realized that you didn’t remember the past mile because you were so lost in your thoughts?

    Anyway, my point is that I agree/disagree with the research. I would say that there is a continuum of attention splitting from full attention to partial attention (headset) to half attention (handset). Just my 2 cents.

  2. OK, but then I want ALL non-driving activities banned. Eating, drinking, talking to your passenger, rifling through your briefcase, doing makeup (yes, I’ve seen this), everything.

  3. What we need is a change in telephone etiquette, so that communicants understand that someone talking on a cellphone may need to pause the conversation at unpredictable times in order to pursue the task at hand. If I was to say “shut up” to someone, they would take that badly. If I’m driving and come to an intersection that requires my full attention, it’s not sufficient for me to stop talking. I need the other person to stop talking as well.

    I’ve blogged on this subject before; see URL.

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