Study: voice commands don’t cut down on distracted driving

Teen drivers face tough odds and statistics. (WDTN- Beairshelle Edmé)
Teen drivers face tough odds and statistics. (WDTN Photo/Beairshelle Edmé)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP/WDTN) – Just because you can talk to your car doesn’t mean you should. Two studies have found that voice-activated smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems may be making the distracted-driving problem worse.

The studies released Tuesday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah found the systems let drivers do things like tune the radio, send a text message, or make a phone call while keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, but many are so error-prone or complex that they require more concentration from drivers rather than less.

Researcher David Strayer, who led the studies, said drivers had to concentrate on exactly what words they wanted to use and in what order to get the systems to follow their commands.

Here is how researchers ranked specific systems from least distracting to most distracting:

-Toyota’s Entune
-Hyundai’s Blue Link Telematics
-Chrysler’s UConnect
-Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch
-Mercedes’ COMMAND
-Chevrolet’s MyLink

Researchers also used Apple’s Siri to perform tasks such as sending and receiving text messages and posting to Facebook and Twitter. They concluded it was the most distracting voice-activated system of all those tested.

 

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