Dictating While Driving is Just as Dangerous as Texting

Many drivers use voice-command to text while driving because they believe it is safer than typing. Auto accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight a new study that found that this is not the case. In comparing drivers who used voice-to-text methods to those who typed, both took twice as long to react to changes in road conditions as they did when not using the phone at all.

The study was conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A & M University, and was the first ever to compare traditional type-texting to voice-texting in an actual driving situation. It involved more than 40 participations, who were asked to drive along an experimental track first without any electronic devices at all. They were then asked to drive while texting in the traditional form, and then a third time while using speech-to-text methods.

Christine Yager, who spearheaded the study, told Reuters that all 43 participants took twice as long to react as they did when not texting, regardless of the way they were texting. Additionally, eye contact on the road significantly decreased, again regardless of the texting method.

Yager went on to say that, somewhat surprisingly, voice-to-text actually took longer than type-texting because drivers had to go back through their message and correct the mistakes the device made. Both methods are equally dangerous because drivers are still using their minds to text instead of focusing on the road ahead of them. This causes impairment and therefore decreases response time.

The biggest problem researchers noted was that drivers actually felt that they were safer when using voice-to-text methods. This indicates that drivers throughout the country are under the same impression, falsely believing that using spoken commands to text is safe – or at least safer than typing to text.

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, more than 6 billion texts were sent in the U.S. per day in 2012. Compounding this, about 35% of drivers admit to reading or sending texts and emails while driving at least once a month. With the immense popularity of the iPhone and other smart phones, voice-to-text communication methods are on the rise with no signs of stopping. Every day new technologies are introduced onto our markets, and it is vital that the public understands that just because this technology is new, it does not necessarily make it safer.

Distractions are distractions, no matter how cutting-edge. Despite this knowledge, too many people are still texting while driving. One study showed that business professionals are the worst culprits, even more so than teenagers. What’s worse is that 98% of those surveyed in the study said they do understand how dangerous the practice is, but engage in it anyway.

The ultimate question is how and why adult men and women are engaging in behavior they know to be dangerous and potentially fatal. In the aforementioned study, half of commuters said they send texts or emails while behind the wheel, compared to a little more than 40% of teens. Another 40% of those adults said they have made the practice a habit.

In response to this troubling trend of indifference, states throughout the country are cracking down on all methods of distracted driving. Even in Texas, arguably one of the most conservative states, lawmakers are filing bills to implement electronic device bans while driving. Although similar legislation was vetoed by the Governor in 2011, more than two dozen cities passed ordinance banning the practice, and six legislators this year have filed bills seeking a statewide ban.

To date, nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit texting while driving. This is because the death toll associated with this practice is immense. Some studies have proven that texting while driving was as dangerous as driving with a BAC of .10, which is significantly above the legal limit.

Auto accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm recount these studies to make the driving public aware that there is concrete, scientific evidence that proves just how dangerous using an electronic device while driving is. It should not take a catastrophic crash to change these dangerous habits. If you were involved in a crash, however, that was caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your suffering. Our attorneys offer free legal consultations, and are available to speak to you now.