This study explored the psychological influences of hands-free and hand-held mobile phone use while driving. Participants were 796 Australian drivers aged 17 to 76 years who owned mobile phones. A cross-sectional survey assessed frequency of calling and text messaging while driving (overall, hands-free, hand-held) as well as drivers’ behavioural, normative, and control beliefs relating to mobile phone use while driving. Irrespective of handset type, 43% of drivers reported answering calls while driving on a daily basis, followed by making calls (36%), reading text messages (27%), and sending text messages (18%). In total, 63.9% of drivers did not own hands-free kits and, of the drivers that owned hand-free kits, 32% did not use it most or all of the time. Significant differences were found in the behavioural, normative, and control beliefs of frequent and infrequent users of both types of handset while driving. As expected, frequent users reported more advantages of, more approval from others for, and fewer barriers that would prevent them from, using either a hands-free or a hand-held mobile phone while driving than infrequent users. Campaigns to reduce mobile phone use while driving should attempt to minimise the perceived benefits of the behaviour and highlight the risks of this unsafe driving practice
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