Voice Control Just as Dangerous While Driving as Texting, Study Finds

Using voice control on a smartphone while driving is widely considered acceptable, whereas texting with fingers is not. But a new study suggests the two actions may be equally dangerous.

A study by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University found that driver response times were significantly delayed no matter which method was used, and that voice-to-text actually took longer than texting with hands, primarily due correcting errors in transcription.

“In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting,” Christine Yager, who headed the study, told Reuters. “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,” he added.

The study involved more than 40 participants driving three times in different scenarios: once without any devices, once while texting, and once while using speech-to-text. The study claims to be the first to compare traditional texting with voice-to-text on a smartphones in a real driving environment.


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