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Is voice-activated texting any safer?

Texting and driving is dangerous because drivers wind up looking down at their phones and writing when they should be looking at the road.

However, modern phones have voice-activated texting systems. You essentially speak into the phone, it writes out what you say, and then you can send it as a text message. There is some thought that doing so would be safer since you wouldn't have to look down and write your message. You could talk while looking at the road.

Studies have found that it's not actually any safer. Researchers had drivers text manually and with voice-activated systems, and they reported that those drivers' reaction times both declined by roughly the same amount. They were twice as slow as drivers who weren't using the phone at all. Researchers noted that even drivers who were using voice-activated systems weren't looking at the road as often.

The researchers had a eye-tracking system. They also turned on a light in the car to measure response times. Furthermore, they watched how long each driver took to write and send each message while driving.

They also weren't surprised by the results of the study. They noted that all activities behind the wheel are potentially dangerous, as they split the driver's attention. After all, even the voice-activated systems require the driver to unlock the phone, find the right contact, hit the right key to turn on the system, and much more.

People keep searching for safe ways to text and drive, but the reality is that nothing makes it any safer, and those who are hit by distracted drivers may want to know their rights to financial compensation.

Source: Washington Post, "Study: Voice-activated texting while driving no safer than typing," Ashley Halsey III, accessed Aug. 02, 2017

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