Distracted Driving Not Diminished by Voice Controls

Voice recognition software has been brought intos car to keep our hands on the wheel, but are these setups keeping our minds on the task at hand?

A new study undertaken by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that voice controls in our vehicles may be just as distracting as the buttons and knobs that they are meant to replace.

To get these results, researchers had test subjects send text messages, post social media updates and schedule appointments using hands-free technology while driving in a simulator to gauge mental strain. Those tested measured 4 points on a 5-point scale for mental strain while using Apple’s Siri hands-free system, which was deemed to be the most distracting systems according to the research.

SEE ALSO: Apple Watch Deemed Distracted Driving in UK

 The OEM systems evaluated in this research were: a Ford equipped with MyFord Touch, a Chevrolet equipped with MyLink, a Chrysler equipped with Uconnect, a Toyota equipped with Entune, a Mercedes equipped with COMMAND, and a Hyundai equipped with Blue Link.

Toyota in particular recieved high praise for having an easily navigable system while Chevy’s MyLink proved to be quite taxing, scoring a 3.7. “We believe that this high level of workload was elicited by system errors and the prolonged duration of the task,” said the report, referring to the MyLink system.

In summary of voice-based controls the study concludes, “that there are significant impairments to driving that stem from the diversion of attention from the task of operating a motor vehicle. The data suggest that voice-based interactions in the vehicle may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.”