Providing Views of the Driving Scene to Drivers’ Conversation Partners Mitigates Cell-Phone-Related Distraction

John G. Gaspar, Whitney N. Street, Matthew B. Windsor, Ronald Carbonari, Henry Kaczmarski, Arthur F. Kramer, Kyle E. Mathewson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cell-phone use impairs driving safety and performance. This impairment may stem from the remote partner’s lack of awareness about the driving situation. In this study, pairs of participants completed a driving simulator task while conversing naturally in the car and while talking on a hands-free cell phone. In a third condition, the driver drove while the remote conversation partner could see video of both the road ahead and the driver’s face. We tested the extent to which this additional visual information diminished the negative effects of cell-phone distraction and increased situational awareness. Collision rates for unexpected merging events were high when participants drove in a cell-phone condition but were reduced when they were in a videophone condition, reaching a level equal to that observed when they drove with an in-car passenger or drove alone. Drivers and their partners made shorter utterances and made longer, more frequent traffic references when they spoke in the videophone rather than the cell-phone condition. Providing a view of the driving scene allows remote partners to help drivers by modulating their conversation and referring to traffic more often.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2136-2146
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 19 2014


  • distracted driving
  • divided attention
  • dual-task performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Providing Views of the Driving Scene to Drivers’ Conversation Partners Mitigates Cell-Phone-Related Distraction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this