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Talking and driving more dangerous if you're alone

Mobile phone use twice as dangerous as talking to passengers

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A new study published in the latest edition of Accident Analysis & Prevention has found that talking to passengers in the car is less dangerous than talking on a hands-free phone.

The study is a follow-up to one published two years ago that established that drivers chatting on the phone were more than four times more likely to have an accident than those driving in silence - but that study made no comparison with talking to passengers in the car.

Now researchers at The George Institute for International Health, Sydney Australia, have filled that gap by talking to 274 drivers attending hospital in Perth, and asking them what they were doing just before their accident.

The results show that driving with two or more passengers more than doubles the chances of having an accident, but using a mobile phone increases the chances of having an accident by a factor of more than four.

The effect of trying to get directions on the phone while being screamed at by two children wasn't established, but it's probably worth taking extra care over the weekend. ®

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