Study shows voice-to-text apps not a safer option for drivers - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Study shows voice-to-text apps not a safer option for drivers

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Warnings about the dangers of texting and driving are everywhere, such as one graphic public service announcement from the United Kingdom.

So what about those voice to text mobile apps that allow hands free texting, do they make texting while behind the wheel any safer?

The Texas Transportation Institute used 43 drivers, ages 16 to 60 on a closed driving course to find out.

"We had our participants drive the course a total of four times," said associate transportation researcher Christine Yager. "Once when they were not texting, once when they were texting manually and two more times when they were using two different voice to text mobile applications."

The institute measured how long it took drivers to respond to a light that turned on periodically and how often they looked at the road ahead.

"We found when drivers were texting their response times were approximately 2 times slower compared to when they were not texting regardless of the method they were using to text wether it was manual or using one of the voice to text applications," Yager said.

Even though participants said they felt safer using a voice to text app, the study results sure didn't prove that.

"When you look at the results of their driving performance it didn't matter which method they were using to text the driving performance was roughly equal in terms of impairment," Yager said.

The study's findings didn't surprise most of the people we talked to.

"You still have to take your eyes off to look down and figure out how to get to that app so no it doesn't surprise me it's still a little bit dangerous for drivers," Katie Cope said.

"Your concentration is still taken away from all of the things going around beside you," said Nancy Bobyk.

But the study's findings won't stop this man from using his voice to text mobile app.

"All I have to do is push a single button and I can say honey I'm on my way home with milk and it requires no texting," said Steven Brinkman.

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