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Windshield speaker can save lives

London, May 9 (Reuters): Talking on a car phone while driving would be less dangerous if the loudspeaker was on the windscreen rather than in the driver’s ear or to the side, scientists found in a study unveiled yesterday.

Many countries ban talking on mobile phones while driving, because it has been proven to cause accidents. Laws often permit “hands free” gadgets, with headphones or loudspeakers, but some safety experts say the devices are little safer, since it is the distraction of a conversation rather than fumbling with the phone that dulls drivers’ concentration.

But scientists at Britain’s Oxford University found drivers were better able to pay attention to the road if the sound was coming from the direction they were looking, rather than from the side or in their ear, as in most hands-free units.

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