Yeah, but…’: The inconvenient truth about mobile phone distraction and what we can do about it

We know that mobile phone use (of any type) is seriously distracting, but that many drivers are resistant to this evidence for a variety of reasons. We also know that enforcement can be difficult and efforts to educate drivers can be frustrating.

The presentation will combine research on the actual effects of, and explanations for, distraction (by Dr Briggs) with research into the best ways of translating research into practice (by Dr Wells) to suggest ways in which we can best deter drivers from engaging in distracted driving. It will also discuss the outcome of the application of this combined work to the NPCC’s  2020 mobile phone enforcement campaign.

Gemma Briggs, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University

Gemma Briggs is an applied cognitive psychologist and senior lecturer at the Open University, who has spent the last 15 years researching the attention and perception of drivers who use their mobile phones. This research has provided new explanations for the deteriorated driving performance shown by those who dual task behind the wheel and has been shared with, and disseminated by, various road safety charities, policing partners and government committees. Gemma is also a member of the Roads Policing Academic Network (RPAN).

Dr Helen Wells

Helen Wells has been researching roads policing topics for the last 20 years and has completed work for a variety of local, national and international funders on topics including distracted driving, ANPR, speed cameras, uninsured driving and Police and Crime Commissioner attitudes to roads policing. She is also the Director of the Roads Policing Academic Network (RPAN), an interdisciplinary network of over 90 academics from Universities in the UK and beyond who have an interest in roads policing issues.