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?

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