Danger: Voice Technologies Distract Drivers

Hands-free technology is supposed to make driving safer -- three out of four drivers believe hands-free technology is safe to use -- but AppleEUs Siri and various in-car systems could ultimately drive you toward a fender bender.

ThatEUs according to a new research from the AAA Foundation for Safety Traffic that shows how distracting these technologies really are.

This research isnEUt opinion-based. University of Utah psychology professor David Strayer and researchers from the University of Utah used instrumented test vehicles, heart-rate monitors and other equipment designed to measure reaction times of drivers using hands-free technologies. Researchers ranked common voice-activated interactions based on the level of cognitive distraction they caused.

EUEven though your car may be configured to support social media, texting and phone calls, it doesnEUt mean it is safe to do so,EU said Strayer. EUThe primary task should be driving. Things that take your attention away make you a poor driver and make the roads less safe.EU

Is Driving With Siri Dangerous?

How distracting are Siri and in-car technologies that help us stay connected on the run without using our hands? As it turns out, voice recognition softwareEUs accuracy EUsignificantly influencesEU the distraction rate. WhatEUs more, composing text messages and e-mails using in-vehicle technologies was more distracting than using these systems to listen to messages, and listening to a natural or synthetic voice is equally as distracting to drivers.

EUWe already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies because their minds are not fully focused on the road ahead,EU said Bob Darbelnet, CEO of AAA. EUWe now understand that current shortcomings in these products, intended as safety features, may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction.EU

The study spent a lot of time with AppleEUs Siri on iOS 7. Researchers measured a range of tasks, such...

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