Texting with your voice while driving as dangerous as the old-fashioned way, study shows
With all the brouhaha about voice-controlling our gadgets through Siri and Google Voice Search or Now services, the actual benefits for critical interactions seem to be overblown, according to a study carried out by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.
The researchers put to the test the claim that if voice commands replace texting while driving, it will be much better for the number of accidents caused by the attention deficit during texting or interacting with your phone via voice.
They placed 43 participants driving on a controlled track, and measured their reaction times during traditional and voice-controlled testing, benchmarked to just driving without any distractions. It turns out that "in each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren't texting," said Christine Yager, who headed the study:
Eye contact to the roadway also decreased, no matter which texting method was used. You're still using your mind to try to think of what you're trying to say, and that by proxy causes some driving impairment, and that decreases your response time.
Every day, new technologies come out, and it is important to educate the public that even these seemingly new distractions are still distractions, and it will help people be safer when they get into the vehicle.
When Samsung or someone else releases their mind-controlled gadgets a few years for now, the study might show the same thing, but how is that different from all the other driving distractions, like eating a cheeseburger with coke? The point is that attention-grabbers are everywhere, and we are better off not doing anything else while driving, but we already knew that, didn't we?