Using your voice to send text messages while driving is just as dangerous as using your fingers, according to a study that measured response times for both scenarios.
The study by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University was the first to compare voice-to-text and traditional texting on a handheld device in an actual driving environment.
The research involved 43 participants driving along a test track without any electronic devices present. The same participants then drove while texting and again while using a speech-to-text device.
“In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting,” said Christine Yager, who led the study.
“Eye contact to the roadway also decreased, no matter which texting method was used.”
Yager said speech-to-text actually took longer than traditional texting, due to the need to correct errors in the electronic transcription. The biggest concern was that drivers who used voice to text applications actually felt safer compared to finger texting, even though driving performance is equally affected.
Although no automakers offer voice to text features in vehicles yet, applications that translate speech into text are available to download for most smartphones.
And with car manufactures likely to soon offer similar in car systems, it is important to remember that these new technologies, while innovative and clever, are still distractions after all.