All Methods of Texting and Driving Dangerous: Study Shows All Methods of Texting Dangerous
It’s easy to see how typing out a text message on a cell phone while you’re actively driving a car down a highway can be dangerous. That’s why many of us have looked into alternatives, such as Siri’s speech-to-text technology, to keep everyone safer. Unfortunately, if a new study released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute on Tuesday is any indication, those alternatives may not be any safer.
The research, which was paid for by the U.S. Department of Transportation, tracked the driving of 43 participants as they maneuvered through a closed course. First, they conducted a control, in which the drivers maneuvered through the course without any distractions. Then they repeated the course while performing a number of activities, including speaking on the phone, manually text messaging and using speech-to-text technologies to dictate text messages. Though the applications gave the drivers the freedom to send a text message hands-free, they were still significantly distracted.
According to the data produced by the study, regardless of texting method, drivers’ reaction times were more than twice as slow. In addition, the number of times drivers looked forward at the road decreased significantly.
This study was released at a time when the Texas legislature is considering House Bill 63, which would create a statewide ban on text messaging while driving. A number of cities already have bans on the practice. So far, the bill has passed the House and is on its way to the Senate, although the fate of the bill is in question, since Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a similar bill in 2011, and he recently issued a statement saying, “The key to dissuading drivers from texting while driving is information and education, not government micromanagement.”
To date, the risks involved with distracted driving continue to bring devastation to many families on Texas roadways. It is time the state and the federal governments, auto and electronics manufacturers, and cell phone service providers come up with a lasting fix to this problem, to reduce the carnage. From signal blockers in cars to software that tracks the speed a cell phone is traveling, many different ideas have been tossed around as ways to end the problem of distracted driving. To date, there is no fix.