Voice Texting Just as Dangerous, New Study Finds

Using a voice-activated system to write text messages may not be as preferable to regular texting as lawmakers may have imagined.A new study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University concluded that sending text messages by way of a voice assisted system is just as dangerous as regular texting. This is true even if you are wearing a headset to assist you.

The researchers asked the 43 participants to first drive along a test track without any electronic devices present, then repeat the drive while texting, and then finally to send text messages while using a speech-to-text device while driving.

While texting, with either method, a driver’s eye contact with the road decreased and response time was significantly delayed. Additionally, according to the study’s abstract, “Results indicate that driver reaction times were nearly two times slower than the baseline condition, no matter which texting method was used.”

Researchers also noted that it took longer to send the voice assisted texts, due to the need to correct errors in the message. The study used three different voice texting programs, with the same results.

According to data from AAA, a national drivers’ organization:

  • 35% of drivers admit to reading a text or email while driving
  • 26% admit to typing a text or email while driving

The results of the study are eye opening, because most texting and cell phone use bans address only manual use of these devices. In fact, they sometimes explicitly state that these uses are acceptible so long as the driver’s voice, rather than eyes and hands, are controlling the communication or other device.

AAA further states that teens are among the drivers most impaired by distraction. A recent study showed that teen drivers were distracted almost 25% of the time they were behind the wheel. The biggest distractions included behaviors related to handheld cellphones, such as texting, composing emails, and downloading music, which accounted for 7% of the distractions identified in the study. Its website further states that federal estimates suggest that distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes, which translates to roughly 5,000 deaths every year.

The results of this study and similar ones in the field of distracted driving, reaffirm that all drivers need to focus on the task at hand: driving. You cannot safely split your attention while driving. Focus on the road and pay attention to traffic, and if you need to make a call, send a text, or interact with your passengers, pull over in a safe area before doing so.

It only takes a second of distracted driving to cause a fatal crash, meaning that it is crucial that drivers are aware of their surroundings and aware of other drivers who may be distracted. In addition to texting causing drivers to take their eyes off of the road, they can also have delayed reaction times, meaning they may over-correct or otherwise overreact because they weren’t watching the road. Additionally, they may fail to stop in time, causing the potential to both rear end the car in front of them, and create potential problems resulting from the crash for the cars behind them.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, call the Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free consultation. Call us toll free at (855) 529-2442.

More Blog Posts:

Rear-End Collision with Semi Leaves Chicagoan Dead, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published April 19, 2013
1 Dead, 4 Injured When Drunk Driver Crashes Into Chicago Police Car, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published April 17, 2013

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