Voice-to-text apps allow cell phone users to simply speak their message into the phone's microphone and have that message converted into text message. These apps have become so popular among cell phone users that many new phones have voice-to-text capabilities built in. Much of their popularity has arisen from the desire to reduce the number of accident caused by people who are texting while driving. Texting while driving is notoriously dangerous since it requires drivers to take their eyes off of the road for up to five seconds at a time.
But is voice-to-text really any safer?
Study Compares Traditional Texting to Voice-To-Text
In theory, voice-to-text would be safer than texting because the driver can keep his or her eyes on the road while speaking into the microphone. However, a new study conducted by researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University reports that voice-to-text is just as dangerous as texting while driving.
The study was conducted in an actual driving environment and tested drivers reaction times while texting and using voice-to-texts apps. 43 participants were tested while driving around a test track without any handheld devices. Those same 43 then performed identical maneuvers, this time while either using voice-to-text or traditional text messaging. The results found that the group using the voice-to-text app had just as significant delays in reaction time as the drivers who were using traditional text messaging. In fact, in some cases drivers using voice-to-text actually performed worse than traditional texting because extra time was needed to correct errors in the transcript.
What the Research Means
The research shows that even if drivers are able to keep their eyes on the road, response times are still delayed because their focus is on something other than driving. One main concern of the text-to-talk app is that even though it did not improve the drivers' response times, the drivers said they felt safer when using the app compared to traditional texting. This can lead to drivers having a false sense of safety while using text-to-talk, when in reality they are driving just as recklessly as traditional texters. According to another survey conducted by AAA, 35% of Americans admit to reading text messages while driving and another 26% admit to sending text messages while driving.
In 2011, 23% of all traffic accidents were caused by a driver using a cell phone. That amounts to 1.3 million accidents. Statistics show a rise in the amount of texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are on the rise. If you were injured in a traffic accident that was caused by a distracted driver, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to learn about your legal rights. Call Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation about your case.