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Study Finds Voice-To-Text Driving As Unsafe As Manual Texting

by Staff Reporter
Posted On: 5/22/2013

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TAGS: vending, coin-op, route driver, texting and driving study, voice-to-text technology, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Southwest Region University Transportation Center, driving safety, manual versus voice-activated tasks, driving study

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Attention route drivers! If you think you're safe driving while using your smartphone's voice-to-text technology, you are wrong.

According to a recent study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center, voice-to-text applications offer no safety advantage over manual texting. Both are dangerous. The study was based on the performance of 43 research participants driving a vehicle on a closed course. While other research efforts have evaluated manual versus voice-activated tasks using devices installed in a vehicle, the TTI analysis is the first to compare voice-to-text to manual texting on a handheld device in an actual driving environment.

One of the study's most significant findings suggests that driver response times are significantly delayed no matter which texting method is used. In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they were not texting. With slower reaction times, drivers were less able to take action in response to sudden roadway hazards, such as a swerving vehicle or a pedestrian in the street. And the amount of time those drivers spent looking at the roadway was significantly reduced with both manual and voice-to-text applications.

A full copy of the report is available online at tti.tamu.edu.