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Voice-Operated Texting: It’s Still a Distraction While Driving

by  on  Car & Motor Vehicle Accidents

Each year, technology continues to advance and improve upon existing technology — particularly when it comes to cell phones and other hi-tech gadgets. Given the constant problem that many lawmakers and safety advocates are having with distracted driving, those in the tech world have started to come up with a number of options that are supposed to be geared toward increasing driver safety all while still giving drivers what they seem to want: the ability to send a text while on the road.

Today’s smartphones can be largely controlled by a user’s voice. Texts can be read aloud and replies can be sent via voice dictation. Indeed, these features are a step toward keeping drivers safe since most controls will not require the user to touch the phone or take his or her eyes off the road at all. But is voice-operated texting really the safest alternative?

Hands-On Texting vs. Hands-Free Texting

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) performed a study that examined 43 drivers, ranging in age from 16 to 54, on a closed course traveling at 30 miles per hour under three conditions: driving without texting, driving while manually texting and driving while texting by voice (using Vlingo for Android phones and Siri for iPhones). The study revealed that response times were significantly delayed regardless which texting method was put in use by the driver.

In every instance, the drivers who were texting while driving took almost twice as long to react than drivers who weren’t texting at all. Additionally, the study showed that the texting drivers spent less time with their eyes on the road — even in cases where they were using their voice to text.

Avoid Distractions as Much as Possible

As noted above, regardless of whether you are manually texting or using a voice-activated control to text, the distraction is still there, as most people will still look at their phones to double-check that the message is correct prior to sending.

The head of TTI’s study notes that there are several ways in which drivers can avoid distracted driving. First of all, an easy solution is to simply place your phone far away from you within the automobile. And if the sound of a call or text alert will still be a distraction for you, turn the phone off and put it on the back seat.

Parents of teen drivers are also encouraged to stress the importance of driver safety to their teens and make it clear that texting and driving is dangerous and should not be done under any circumstances.

Drivers are also advised to keep the safety of others in mind as well. That means that if you call or text someone who says they are driving, simply let them know that you’ll contact them at a later, more convenient time.

The numbers don’t lie. According to AAA, 35 percent of drivers admit to reading texts and/or emails while driving and 26 percent admit to actually typing texts and/or emails while operating a motor vehicle.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile crash that may have been caused by a distracted driver, contact Levine Law and speak with one of our Denver accident lawyers today.