The Texas A&M
Traffic Institute (TTI) recently conducted a study on the dangers of voice to
text while driving. As I have written here in the past, the reaction time for
drivers while manually texting is remarkably dangerous – – almost as dangerous
as driving under the influence of alcohol. Up to this point, no studies had
been conducted on the reaction times for drivers who use the voice to text
method through applications like Siri and Vingo.
experiment, associate transportation researcher at TTI
Christine Yager gathered 43 participants, who drove an instrumented
vehicle on a closed course at the Texas A&M University Riverside facility,
and measured their reaction time as well as the amount of time spent looking at
the roadway ahead.
“Each participant drove the course four times:
once while not texting, once while texting manually and two more times using
two different voice-to-text mobile applications, Siri and Vingo,” Yager said.
Regardless of which texting method was used, the
voice-to text applications were not found to be any less impairing than
manual-entry texting. According to Yager’s abstract, response times and eye
gazes to the forward roadway were relatively similar within each texting
are fascinating findings in this study. I would like to see a much larger study
performed by the National Traffic Safety Board or other governmental
institution to either confirm or deny these findings. If confirmed, then state
and federal lawmakers need to reconsider their anti-texting and driving laws to
include voice to text as this can be equally as dangerous and continue to lead
to traffic accidents.