Can talking on the phone keep the driver awake?: results of a field-study using telephoning as a countermeasure against fatigue while driving

In recent studies, negative consequences of distraction while driving, especially of telephoning are highlighted and discussed. Besides negative short term effects of telephoning, also other, more positive effects are thinkable. Fatigue is an important risk factor especially in the field of driving platoon. Long distance drives under monotonous conditions lead to diminished attention and alertness. Then asked, drivers report that they actively apply countermeasures against fatigue in monotonous driving situations. One of the countermeasures that are mentioned is engaging in conversation either with the passenger or on the phone. The presented field study investigated whether talking on the phone can help to improve drivers’ condition during monotonous rides. The participants drove for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon on a test track with a mean speed of 40 km/h. During the drives, the participants received phone calls after defined time intervals. With the help of physiological recording methods (EEG and eyelid measures), CAN-Bus-data, reaction times and psychological questionnaires, the condition of 18 subjects was measured. The analysis shows that the drivers were more alert and awake during the telephone conversation and up to twenty minutes afterwards. The alpha spindle rate diminished and data of eyelid-behaviour showed a decline in the relative blink duration. The results support the subjectively reported impression that talking on the phone is a possibility to stay alert in monotonous driving conditions. The reported findings are discussed in the light of a prospective application in vehicles.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 12
  • Monograph Title: 2nd International conference on driver distraction and inattention (DDI2011)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01556756
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Mar 12 2015 10:15AM