Can voluntary apps reduce mobile phone use while driving?

The use of mobile phones while driving increases crash risk, even when such use is legal. Because dangerous distraction is a result of a cognitive and perceptual workload that exceeds the driver’s capability, there has been considerable interest in “workload managers” as a solution. A workload manager is a system that continuously assesses the difficulty of driving and regulates the flow of information that could interfere with driving to drivers.

Workload managers may thus reduce the risk of mobile phone use by reducing driver exposure to mobile phone information and functions at times at which exposure is most likely to compromise the performance of activities critical for safe driving. A recently funded review by members of our project team concluded that workload management technologies in mobile phones are a cost-effective measure to tackle distraction. One form of workload management involves blocking all except designated phone numbers from ringing the phone while driving. Such systems can be imposed as a compulsory measure, however, there is a growing availability of voluntary workload managers, including some that are downloadable as mobile phone apps. This study addressed this research gap.

Research Findings


It can wait: Apps aim to stop deadly phone use

Funding / Grants

  • RACV (2017 - 2018)