Voice controls are deadlier than cell phones while driving

by Andrew Roach on June 13, 2013

Cell phones have long been touted as the antichrist device for anyone to use while they are on the road.

However, a new study carried out in partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has found that in-car voice controls are actually a bigger distraction to motorists.

With more focus needed on channelling and processing the data needed to carry out the voice control, it means that drivers are less likely to pay attention to the road than they would when on their phone.

The study was carried out in partnership with several organisations such as the CAA, AAA Foundation for Public Safety and the University of Utah.

In the study, it was revealed that that response times were significantly slower when trying to use voice-active controls while on the road.

They found that drivers’ brains were too busy trying to process the commands needed to select the right function on software which meant that they would often miss potential indicators of danger such as traffic lights or road signs.

It was also common for drivers to only focus on items that were directly in front of the driver when using voice control software creating a tunnel vision effect which would blank out any pedestrians, cyclists or vehicles who may appear from a sidewalk or another junction.

With many participants being so distracted in the tests, the lack of awareness ha worried experts about some of the potential situations facing drivers on the road. These fears were displayed by AAA Foundation for Public Safety President Peter Kissinger who told CBC that “People aren’t seeing what they need to see to drive. That’s the scariest part to me. Police accident investigative reports are filled with comments like the ‘looked, but did not see.’ That’s what drivers tell them. We used to think they were lying, but now we know that’s actually true”

The study tested several different potential distractions to the driver such as listening to the radio, sending emails and calling contacts while driving on a simulator.

With officials predicting that there could be potentially 62 million cars on the road by 2018, the CAA will be hoping that they can find ways to cut down on potential electronic hazards that could affect our performance on the road.
But with both cars and drivers getting ever more reliant on using electronic devices to get from A to B, automotive authorities are going to need to get tough to ensure that the gadgets deigned to help us don’t lead us into making a fatal mistake.

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Written by: Andrew Roach www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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