With texting while driving soon to become illegal in Florida, is handheld voice-to-text safer and lead to less car accidents? According to a recent a Texas A&M Transportation Institute study, the answer is NO.
The study examined 43 research participants driving an actual vehicle on a closed course. While other research efforts have evaluated manual versus voice-activated tasks using devices installed in a vehicle such as through Bluetooth, the recent study is the first to compare voice-to-text and manual texting on a handheld device in an actual driving environment.
During the study, drivers first navigated the course without any use of cell phones. Each driver then traveled the course three more times performing a series of texting exercises – once using each of two voice-to-text applications (Siri® for the iPhone and Vlingo® for Android), and once texting manually. Researchers then measured the time it took each driver to complete the tasks, and also noted how long it took for the drivers to respond to a light which came on at random intervals during the exercises. The study showed the following:
- Automobile accidents are more likely to happen no matter which texting method was used because of significantly delayed driver response times. In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting.
- Distracted driving car accident would still occur because the amount of time that drivers spent looking at the roadway ahead was significantly less when using either texting methods.
- For most tasks, manual texting required slightly less time than the voice-to-text method, but driver performance was roughly the same with both.
One concerning result is the false sense of safety when using voice-to-text. According to the study, drivers felt safer when using a voice-to-text application than when texting manually, even though driving performance suffered equally with both methods.
So, no matter what people tell you, voice-to-text is no safer than manual text-messaging and should not be done while driving. No message is so important that it cannot wait until the next traffic light. If it is, pull over and complete the message. It could prevent a car accident and could save a person's life.
Drive safely and watch out for those who don't!
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.