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Pay attention! 6 causes of distracted driving

Talking to a passenger: Moderate risk
Talking to a passenger: Moderate risk © stefanolunardi/Shutterstock.com

The level of distraction became a bit more elevated when test participants chatted with a passenger in the car.

As part of the testing, drivers were asked to have a conversation with a passenger. Participants were asked to spend roughly half the time talking, and the other half listening.

Distraction levels rose about halfway between activities that are not distracting at all, and those that are severely distracting.

Interestingly, it appears that the mere act of conversation is distracting. Drivers were not allowed to turn their heads to look at the passenger while talking, nor to perform actions such as hand gestures that might lead to distraction.

"They were told to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel the whole time," Hamilton says.

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