Study: Voice-to-Text is as Dangerous as Texting
Written by Greg on January 10, 2015
Although many are aware that alcohol-related driving, drug-related driving, and simply driving under inclement weather or under treacherous road conditions can lead to an influx of accidents, many often do not consider the harmful nature of distracted driving.
According to research presented by Distraction.gov, distracted driving is any activity that will cause an individual’s attention to be taken away from driving. In this vein, distracted driving can include texting, using a cellphone, eating/drinking, adjusting the radio, or simply talking to other passengers within the vehicle.
Additionally, the website points out that an estimated 421,000 are injured in distraction-driving related crashes each year.
In lieu of one of the biggest culprits of distracted driving, texting, many have begun to download voice-to-text applications. These applications work by allowing one to say what they would like to text and then the automated system relays this information as a text to the recipient.
The idea is that, if one is not manually texting to their recipient, then there is no potential for distracted driving to occur, thus increasing overall safety. However, according to research conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institution, new findings showcase that these voice-to-text applications offer no real advantage over manual texting.
Although startling, researchers offered the full methodology of the study up for scrutiny. First researchers garnered 43 research participants to drive an actual vehicle on a closed course. The drivers first navigated the course without the use of cell phones and then each driver traversed the course three or more times utilizing various texting exercises, such as texting manually and texting with the most common voice-to-text applications.
Each vehicle was also fitted with a device which allowed for TTI analysis, measuring the time it took for drivers to complete the course as well as how long it took drivers to respond when a light came on during random intervals throughout the exercises.
Overall, the research showcased that the voice-to-text methodology offered no real benefit over manual texting whatsoever. In fact, the research showcased that, using either method; driver response times were still significantly delayed.
Whether using voice-to-text or inputting information in manually, research showed that drivers took twice as long to respond to a potential hazard than if they were driving without distraction. Although, the research does indicate that drivers felt less safe texting manually, and felt safer using voice-to-text methods, there is no benefit to using the latter function.
In fact, perhaps the most startling piece of information that has been gleamed is that manual texting requires less time than the voice-to-text method.
In short, although voice-to-text applications showcase themselves as a way to prevent accidents, the research shows that they are actually just as distracting as manually texting. This can likely be attributed to the distractive nature of needing to ensure that the information has been read completely as well as the need to manually turn on the system in the first place.
As such, one should be forgo any potential distraction, which includes voice-to-text applications, as they can still create the potential for injury auto accidents.