Dave Rogers, RoSPA road safety adviser, said: 'Both during and for several minutes after a conversation we found motorists' heart rates would increase in stress levels. Psychologists have established that drivers under stress are more likely to have an accident.' The society estimates that in the last two years around 30 people in the UK have been killed as a result of mobile phone conversations while driving. Six deaths have been directly linked in court cases to the use of mobile phones.
RoSPA's findings come after extensive research which involved 360 different drivers using a driving simulator, with their heart rate monitored at all times. While 'driving' they received phone calls both on hand-held and hands-free phones. In both cases RoSPA says heart rates increased and concentration deteriorated. But the society also says that for up to 10 minutes after the call the heart rate stayed at the higher 'stress' level.
Rogers said: 'This simply backs up what we have been saying for several years. Fleet managers should now be actively warning their drivers of the dangers they are putting themselves in on a day to day basis. The next logical step is to make the use of mobile phones while driving illegal.'