Apr 23, 2013

Voice Texting Found To Be No Safer Than Manual Texting When Behind The Wheel

[Washington Post] It had appeared that technology might have solved a problem of its own creation when voice-activated texting came along so that drivers could keep their eyes on the road. Not so, says the first major study of the subject.

It’s every bit as dangerous to speak into a mobile device that translates words into a text message as it is to type one.

“It didn’t really matter which texting method you were using, your reaction times were twice as slow and your eyes were on the road much less often,” said Christine Yager, who did the research for the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

With Americans swapping 6.1 billion text messages every day, several mobile-application developers came up with voice-to-text software. Yager tested two developed for the popular iPhone and Android devices as drivers performed tests on a closed course.

“We were using a tracker, measuring how often they looked at the roadway and how long it took the driver to complete each text-messaging task that we asked them to do, and we also were looking at how long it took them to respond to that light that turned on periodically,” she said.

The finding: Voice-to-text applications “do not increase driver safety compared to manual texting.”

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