Distracted driving accounts for thousands of injuries and fatalities each year in the United States. The majority of these accidents are caused by using a cell phone. In an effort to decrease the amount of distractions from cell phone use, manufacturers have created voice-to-text technology. This allows drivers to send text messages while driving without having to pick up the phone.
While this may seem like a safe alternative, it still puts drivers at risk for an accident.
Studies Show That Voice-to-Text Software Is More Dangerous Than Traditional Texting
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), using hands-free texting while you drive is just as dangerous as using hands-on texting. In fact, it actually puts you at greater risk for a crash. On the surface, it seems like using hands-free texting is safer because it lets you keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
However, something that voice-to-text manufacturers didn’t consider is the power of cognitive distraction. This refers to anything that takes your mind off the road, such as listening to a song, having a heated argument with a passenger, and daydreaming. Mental distractions cause you to lose focus on what you are doing, and when you are driving a vehicle, this can lead to a devastating accident.
Using Hands-Free Devices Will Distract You from the Road
Creating a text message with voice-to-text software requires a lot of concentration. You have to know what you want to say, and say it quickly and perfectly in order for the cell phone to send the right message. Studies have shown that drivers still look down to check that the message is correct before sending, so it still doesn’t fix the problem of visual distractions.
Our brains can multitask fairly well, but we can’t do two different things at the same time. Using hands-free texting while driving is like trying to have a conversation with someone while reading a book. Your mind can jump between them, but it will not be able to focus completely on both tasks simultaneously. Recent studies have shown that drivers only see about half of the road around them when they are using hands-free texting. This means, even with their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel, their brains are not able to recognize dangerous conditions and react quickly.
Based on this evidence, drivers should avoid using hands-free texting while on the road. The best thing to do if you are driving is to pull over and park in a safe place and check your phone. Texting while driving, even with voice-to-text software, is dangerous and puts others on the road at risk.
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