Drivers believe locating and answering a ringing phone is not as risky as talking, texting or browsing.
A study of 484 Queensland drivers found 45 per cent admit to locating and answering a ringing phone, compared to 28 per cent who reported speaking on a handheld device.
The head researcher said:
“Finding and reaching for a ringing phone is perceived by drivers as having a mid-range crash risk, however research has showed that this task is one of the most risky activities a driver can engage in,”
“This is because drivers are likely to adapt their driving behaviour when talking, texting and browsing, by reducing their speed, increasing their distance from the vehicle in front and scanning their environment more frequently.
“On the other hand, a ringing mobile phone can occur at any time without giving time for the driver to adapt their behaviour and therefore increases the likelihood of a crash.
“This mismatch in perception of risk is a major concern revealed by the study.”
Researchers say using a mobile phone while driving had been shown to increase crash risk four-fold.
“Novice drivers are particularly at risk as they are more likely to drive while using a mobile phone.”