Study: Voice-based texting no safer than using thumbs when driving

April 23, 2013 at 8:08 PM
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas, April 23 (UPI) -- Drivers using smartphone speech-to-text systems rather than their thumbs to text are in reality no less distracted when driving, a Texas A&M study indicates.

Laws against texting while driving have led many people to use voice-based texting systems, but they offer no real safety advantage over manual texting, the study authors report.

The study looked at the performance of 43 research participants driving an actual vehicle on a closed course and found driver response times were significantly delayed no matter which texting method was used, and in fact for many tasks manual texting required slightly less time than voice-to-text methods, the researchers said.

"Understanding the issue of distracted driving is an evolving process as new technologies emerge, and this study is but one step in that process," Christine E. Yager of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute said.

Using a voice-to-text application may give drivers a false sense of security, researchers said.

"Each driver is responsible for his or her own choices," she told TechNewsWorld. "What we're saying is that based on this particular study, manual texting and voice texting are roughly equal in terms of how they can complicate the driving task and potentially compromise safety. Ideally, these and other research findings can help drivers make those choices."

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Topics: Texas A&M
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