Texting while driving is dangerous due to the fact that it forces you to pay less attention to the road both physically and mentally, which is why it is illegal in the UK. Therefore, most road users now use a hands-free or Bluetooth kit in their cars so they can speak on their phone while still keeping their hands on the wheel. More and more companies are coming up with ways for drivers to use their mobile phones safely on the road, including the introduction of ‘voice-to-text’ software that writes out a text from what you say out loud.
However, even though many people believe that this method is safer than traditional texting, a recent American study has proved that voice-to-text is just as dangerous when driving. The study was conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, who tested 43 subjects that at first drove on the test track using no electronic devices, then while texting, and finally while using voice-to-text. Surprisingly, the results showed that the drivers actually paid less attention when using voice-to-text compared to traditional texting as they had to continually correct errors in the transcript.
Discussing the experiment Christine Yager, who headed the study, said: “”In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting. Eye contact to the roadway also decreased, no matter which texting method was used. You’re still using your mind to try to think of what you’re trying to say, and that by proxy causes some driving impairment, and that decreases your response time. Every day, new technologies come out, and it is important to educate the public that even these seemingly new distractions are still distractions, and it will help people be safer when they get into the vehicle.”
Generally, if you are in an accident in your car even if you are using a hands-free device most car insurance companies will hold you responsible due to the fact that you weren’t fully paying attention to the road. It seems as though no matter how many new types of technologies are invented, there is no way that a driver can use electronics behind the wheel without it impacting their driving abilities. Therefore the safest option is to never use your phone or any other form of portable electronics while driving, and if it is an emergency find somewhere safe to pull over before using your phone.