Handsfree texting shown to be as dangerous as regular texting

April 23, 2013
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When it comes to texting while driving we often hear talk of going handsfree. The general belief is that it is safer to go handsfree as opposed to hands-on, however a new study is showing that it is not entirely safe to be texting handsfree either. This study was done by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University and it compares voice-to-text and non-voice texting in a real-world driving environment.

This particular study looked at 43 licensed drivers between the ages of 16 and 60. Each participant in the study drove a total of four times, with each being for 10 minutes. The driving was done at 30 MPH and each driver did one round with no texting, one round with manual texting, one round with voice-to-text using an iPhone and one round using voice-to text with an Android smartphone.

The results of the testing showed driver response time being slower regardless of which method of texting they were doing. It was shown that drivers took roughly twice as long to react while texting as opposed to while they were not texting. The handsfree and manual texting test drives also revealed that drivers spent less time looking at the road.

Perhaps even more telling, this study shows that driver performance was just about the same regardless of which method of texting they were doing. Not that we want to encourage any sort of texting while driving, but the study showed that manual texting actually took slightly less time than voice-texting. Of course, as anyone that has used text-to-speech will likely realize, the reasoning there could be the sometimes jumbled messages that require fixing before they can be sent.

Image credit: mrJasonWeaver on Flickr

[via USA Today]

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  • Eye4Detail

    I can see this being true if you’re holding the phone but not with it in a dash mount. I use voice commands and dictation all the time while I’m driving and it’s less distracting than changing the station on my stereo.

    Then again, like most people, I use my own phone that I set up myself. I suppose if I was chosen to be part of a study and handed phones I was unfamiliar with, I’d be a lot more distracted.

    Conclusion: Don’t use phones that aren’t yours while driving. Also, only replace your car stereo with one that has the same layout as your old one (seriously, this thing is a pain to get used to).

  • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

    Don’t drink and drive.. you’ll spill it!

    Ooops, I meant no texting and driving ;)

  • CSDeeds

    I don’t believe this. I think they design these “tests” to favor whatever outcome they want. A study was released that talking and driving was as bad as drunk driving and that’s just plain bull.

    From personal experience I can very much say voice texting is MUCH safer than physical texting while driving. One you have to take your eyes off the road to do and the other you do not. The attention spent on speaking a text is minimal. Even less than carrying on a conversation.