Explain the Difference Between Cell Phone Call and Talking to Passenger

In her latest blog, “Our Driving Concern,” Senior Program Manager Lisa Robinson recounts the story of a man who spent 20 years working on a road maintenance crew. He died in a crash. He was not wearing his seat belt, and he was ejected from his vehicle.

Robinson wonders: How many of his co-workers knew he did not buckle up? She goes on to explain how a passenger in a car or truck plays just as important a role as a co-pilot in an airplane. Conversation with a passenger is safer than conversation on a cell phone – even if that phone conversation involves using a hands-free device.

When talking on a cell phone, you cannot read cues from the person on the other end of the line in the same way as you can during face-to-face conversation. So, you focus more on the conversation than usual. This distracts your mind from focusing on driving.

Also, passengers can see your driving environment. They tend to adjust conversation when risks are heightened. And they can call out those risks, too.