• Apr 23, 2013
A billboard from California when the state banned texti... A billboard from California when the state banned texting and driving in 2009. (Getty)
If you are one of the many Americans who think that voice-to-text applications on smartphones can make it safe to text while driving, think again. According to a research study released Tuesday, voice-to-text systems on handheld devices offer no measurable safety benefits to drivers over manual texting.

The study, sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center and conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), put 43 participants behind the wheel of a car and sent them on a texting-and-driving journey through a closed course multiple times.

After first navigating the course without using any devices, participants were asked to drive the course three more times while performing a series of texting exercises: Using Siri for the iPhone and Vlingo for Android, and once texting manually. Researchers monitored the amount of time required for the tasks to be performed as well as how long it took for them to react a light that came on at random intervals along the route.

According to TTI, the participants' response times were "significantly delayed"-about twice as long-when texting, regardless of which method was used.

TTI researchers also observed that drivers spent significantly less time monitoring the road ahead when texting, regardless of whether they used their fingers or their voices to perform the exercises.

While drivers said they did not feel as safe while manually texting, using their fingers to text was quicker than the voice-to-text systems. Still, as the survey bluntly states: "Driving performance suffered equally with both methods."

Now, who wants to break the bad news to Siri?


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 5 Comments
      OTTER
      • 1 Year Ago
      Texting is an efficient communications medium, a powerful fund raising tool and even a crime reporting method - to name a few upsides. But I also think technology should be able to help us facilitate unplugging - especially when driving down the highway in 5000 pounds of steel and glass. After my three year old daughter was nearly run down by a texting driver in 2009, I invented an app to manage texting whether the user is at home, in the office or on the road. Its simple and easy to schedule "texting blackout periods" with all notifications silenced so you can focus on the task at hand without feeling disconnected from your social network. Teens can study or sleep and adults...well maybe we can remind ourselves that technology should be complimenting our lives and not the other way around. Erik Wood, owner OTTER app do one thing well... be great.
      • 1 Year Ago
      This society is tech'd out to the max. Take a deep breath and try to imagine how us dinosaurs used to cope with just a regular phone tied to a 50 foot pole by a wire. Everywhere I go I see people gabbing away their lives saying virtually nothing that probably couldn't wait till another time. It's manna from heaven for terminal gossips which seems to be what the latest generation has turned into. I'd like to see a total tech-out and watch these pathetic creatures hopelessly pushing buttons that no longer work.
      arenadood
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anything that distracts a driver is dangerous, no need for a study.
      timkinetron
      • 1 Year Ago
      new study...don't talk to the kids in the back seat...it's dangerous....how bout the people who crash are idiots didn't take a study to figure that one out...just watch russian crash videos