, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 223–236 | Cite as

Mobile phone use while driving: public opinions on restrictions

  • Dave Lamble
  • Sirpa Rajalin
  • Heikki Summala


This paper reviews two road-user surveys on the use of mobile phones on the road in Finland where the mobile phone ownership rate is highest in the world (70% in August 2000). From 1998 to 1999 the proportion of drivers that chose to use a mobile phone while driving rose from 56% to 68%, while the proportion of phone using drivers who experienced dangerous situations due to phone use rose from 44% to 50%. The proportion of drivers who used their phones in some way to benefit safety on the road remained at about 55%. The youngest, novice drivers had the highest level of phone usage of all age categories. Over 48% of the interviewees believed that the government should ban the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving, and another 27% believed that all types of mobile phone use should be banned while driving. Those drivers who used their phones the most each day were more likely to want some form of restrictions, than those who had lower usage. This is a strong message to the elected lawmakers and raises the problem of exactly how regulatory bodies would go about controlling the future growth of new driver support and non-driving related communication devices in road vehicles. It was concluded that legislating for hands-free use only would be a reasonable course of action. Mandating that the current generation of equipment should be optimized for hands-free use should result in future generations of in-vehicle equipment also being optimized for hands-free use as a minimum criterion.

age cellular phones legislation mobile phones motor-vehicle driver road safety 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dave Lamble
    • 1
  • Sirpa Rajalin
    • 2
  • Heikki Summala
    • 1
  1. 1.Traffic Research Unit, Department of PsychologyUniversity of HelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Liikenneturva (Central Organization for Traffic Safety in Finland)HelsinkiFinland

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