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Study: Hands-free Texting Still Results in Many Accidents

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Feb. 18, 2020—MTI research reveals hands-free texting only feels safer, but does not improve distracted driving incidents.

While hands-free interfaces may seem an intuitive and convenient solution to the dangers of distracted driving related to cell phone usage, scientific evidence substantiating the desired safety improvements is lacking. 

Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) researcher, Dr. Francesca Favaro investigated how driving performance was affected when drivers used manual texting compared to voice to text in “Impact of Smart Phones’ Interaction Modality on Driving Performance for Conventional and Autonomous Vehicles.

The results of the study revealed that while drivers stated they felt safer when replying vocally to a text, their driving performance did not improve. The findings reveal that two key factors drive the perception of safety using voice command texting:

  • Voice commands are composed faster than manual text composition
  • Drivers perceive that voice commands require less effort

Dr. Favaro recommends “caution with respect to the technological promises of vocal engagement interfaces.”

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