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Study suggests voice-to-text 'just as dangerous' as texting while driving

Mat Smith, @thatmatsmith
April 23, 2013
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If you thought you were driving safe when activating your voice-to-text service or starting up Siri, a survey by the Texas Transportation Institute suggests it might dull your reactions just as much as finger-based typing. The study compared traditional text messaging with voice-to-text and found that drivers still took about twice as long to react compared to when they weren't trying to communicate. According to Christine Yager, who led the research, "eye contact to the roadway" also suffered, regardless of which texting method was used.

In fact, voice-to-text often took longer than manual input, due to the need to correct typing discrepancies while using the software: "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." The bigger issue is that the drivers apparently felt safer when using voice-based entry, even though test results proved that response times were just as negatively affected. "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," Yager added.

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