From in-car voice-activated technologies that allow drivers to adjust their climate control or navigation, to mobile technologies like Siri, Doylestown motorists are now free to use a variety of technologies without taking their hands off the steering wheel or their eyes off the road. Many assume that this will make driving safer for everybody, from the person using the hands-free technology to others who share the road to pedestrians and bicyclists around the roadway.
But how safe are voice commands in the car? A new study indicates that the voice-activated technologies that are all the rage nowadays may increase distracted driving accident risks.
Why are voice-activated technologies so distracting?
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah recently conducted a study on this issue. The researchers examined several infotainment systems currently available from major auto manufacturers.
The following distracted drivers more than having a cell phone conversation.
- Chevrolet’s MyLink system
- Mercedes’ COMMAND system
- MyFord Touch
- Chrysler’s UConnect system
“The least distracting system was Toyota’s Entune…followed by Hyundai’s Blue Link,” according to a University of Utah press release.
Another study by the researchers found that using Apple’s Siri – such as to send or receive text messages or post to social media – was more distracting than other voice-activated technologies. This was true even if the user modified the device to be hands- and eyes-free.
The study involved University of Utah students and volunteers. The participants performed various driving tasks like calling, texting or operating the radio with the voice-based technology while looking at a computer screen, operating a driving simulator, or driving a real vehicle on a loop.
Rating the Distractions in the Study
In the study, Apple’s Siri was rated at 4.14 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing zero distractions and five representing the highest level of distraction. On at least two occasions in the study, motorists using Siri ended up rear-ending the vehicle in front, using a driving simulator, of course.
Below are other ratings of infotainment systems in vehicles.
- Chevrolet’s MyLink: 3.7
- Mercedes’ COMMAND: 3.1
- Ford’s SYNC with MyFord Touch: 3.0
- Chrysler’s UConnect: 2.7
- Hyundai’s Blue Link Telematics: 2.2
- Toyota’s Entune: 1.7
One reason the technologies might be so distracting is because using them can be frustrating. That is, users might find it difficult to send accurate messages using the voice-activated features, and may struggle to correct messages.
Also remember that focusing on the task at hand while behind the wheel requires your hands, eyes, and your mind. While voice-activated technology might allow you to keep you hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, it can take your mind off of driving, which can increase your risk of a distracted driving-related accident.
Proving Negligence in a Distracted Driving Accident
Injured in an accident in Doylestown that you believe was the result of a texting motorist or one otherwise distracted while behind the wheel? You may file an accident claim based on the other motorist’s negligence.
Compensation recoverable in a distracted driving accident claim can include medical costs, lost income and pain and suffering if you suffered serious injuries or have full tort car insurance coverage. Get in touch with a car accident lawyer to understand how you can hold the other motorist liable in your car accident claim.