The society says: 'Drivers can't drive as safely when doing even a simple task at the same time. In fact, they tend to take more risks when distracted in a verbal activity such as a conversation. They are also slower to react.' One of the study authors, psychologist Mark Horswill, adds: 'One implication is that the use of mobile phones while driving will significantly increase accident likelihood, even if hands-free systems are being used.'
However, the RAC Foundation maintains that drivers face hundreds of distractions while driving and 'having a chat' was often the least worrying aspect. Executive director Edmund King said that, in the early 1960s, many people raised fears about the distracting effects of a car radio. Today, it was mobile phones, navigational devices and talking.