Voice-to-text might be just as distracting as traditional texting

by: Nate SwannerApril 23, 2013

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Just when we think it’s all figured out, life throws a wrench at us. We really thought the voice-to-text feature on our phones were a workaround for those “don’t text while driving laws”. Well, we just might be wrong… but let’s be honest, we probably knew we were.

A new study suggests that even voice input while driving is just as distracting as texting. When it comes to reaction time, those drivers using voice-to-text still took about twice as long to react versus drivers who weren’t distracted, which was the same slow reaction time as traditional texting. Even though your eyes can still be on the road, your mind is multitasking. We often like to read what we spoke before we send it, further distracting us.

The study went on to note that drivers ‘feel safer’ using voice input, but the data doesn’t lie. Distracted driving is just that, and no matter what is going on, that message can wait. “Every day, new technologies come out, and 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,” said Christine Yeager, who conducted the study. We couldn’t agree more.

  • These studies are pointless IMO. Look, anything will distract you, no matter if you are using voice to text, turning a nob, rolling down your window, or stepping on the gas. Unless people can stop thinking and only focus on driving, we all know any type of “thinking” will make you less than 100%. So stop thinking and be a zombie driver. You will be 100% safe, until the idiot next to you decides he did not see you in his blind spot.

  • E

    Agree with Lwabbit22, everything distracts you while driving, having people in the car is distracting………

    • come on, being honest, sending sms via voice is a little more distracting than winding a window. You have to press a button or say a command to activate it. then after speaking the text you have to double check to see that its correct and 1/2 times it is wrong somewhere, where you have to either go back and fix it manually. again distracting. or clear it off and try again. still more distracting. This requires more attention then placing a finger on a button to wind a window down, as it does shift your main focus from the road to the phone causing accidents.

  • Timmy

    So with these studies, it makes me wonder how the rising popularity with large touch screen devices are acceptable in cars. Granted, they look cool but are probably more distracting than your average stereo. Android seems to be gaining a foothold in this area so the opportunity to make more money will likely override any research warning against the dangers.
    I agree with Lwabbit that nearly anything can distract you from driving but the studies aren’t totally pointless if they raise some kind of awareness to those that think they are immune from being distracted (e.g. teenagers, soccer moms).
    As a motorcycle rider, I find that being in a car contributes to becoming a “zombie” driver. It’s so easy to tune out your surroundings whereas riding forces you to pay attention (at least it should). Laws against texting and driving of any kind may just be the first step. Cars that disable your phone from texting might be on the horizon.