Communicating with your smartphone’s voice command software might prove to be deadly, despite the insistence from manufacturers that these hands-free programs are safe for use while driving.
Recent studies have shown that such voice command software, such as Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, can cause lapses in the attention span of drivers for nearly half a minute.
Needless to say, losing focus for such a long period of time while driving could prove to be extremely deadly.
According to a series of studies that were conducted by the University of Utah in conjunction with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, such voice command technologies can be even more distracting than listening to the radio or using traditional handheld mobile phones.
Psychology professor at the University of Utah, David Strayer, said, ““Most people think, ‘I hang up and I'm good to go’. But that's just not the case. We see it takes a surprisingly long time to come back to full attention.”
Drivers traveling at 25 mph can remain distracted for up to 27 seconds after they say that they have returned their attention back to driving following their usage of a smartphone assistant or a car infotainment system.
Another psychology professor from the University of Utah, Joel Cooper, said “The voice-command technology isn't ready. It's in the cars and is billed as a safe alternative to manual interactions with your car, but the voice systems simply don't work well enough.”
The study functioned by rating driver distractions on a scale of one to five, with five being the most distracting. The ratings for smartphone voice command systems were determined using two scenarios. One scenario involved using voice commands to make phone calls or to change music. The other scenario involved using voice command to send text messages. Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana were found to be highly distracting, especially when compared to listening to the radio or using an older handheld phone to make calls.
Meanwhile the infotainment system of the Mazda 6 sedan was found to be the most distracting system of all that were tested.
So while technology companies might say that their offerings are safe for use while driving, studies are showing otherwise. Drivers must remember to be careful on the road. Failing to do so could be an accident waiting to happen.