Voice Texting Still Hazardous
A new study from Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute has found that that using voice-to-text technology while driving is no safer than type-texting (which has been responsible for many nasty accidents). Apple’s Siri voice assistant and Samsung’s S Voice are both examples of applications that let people text by speaking—marketed as safer than texting while driving.
But Christine Yager, an associate transportation researcher at the institute, says, “From our experiment, the response times and amount of time looking at the roadway was about the same when texting manually or using a voice-to-text application.” The study found that driver reaction times while texting (whether they were texting with voice or fingers) were twice as slow as when the drivers were not texting.
Texas A&M’s researchers asked 43 participants to drive 30 mph inside marked lanes on a closed course four times. The first lap around, the drivers did not text; the second lap, they texted with their hands; the third, texted with voice-to-text using Apple’s Siri on an iPhone; and the last, voice-texted on a Samsung Android. Cameras tracked the drier’s eye gaze, a GPS recorded changes in lane position, and the driver’s response time was tested by measuring how long it took the driver to press a response button after a green LED light periodically flashed on the dashboard. The drivers said they felt safer using the voice-to-text devices; but actually showed slower response times when they used Siri. Overall driver reaction times while voice-texting showed slim to no differences over type-texting. And, while thirty-nine states have outlawed type-texting while driving, voice-to-text remains legal in every state.
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