The dangers of distracted driving are no secret: more than 6,000 people are killed each year in distracted driving accidents with cell phones being the most common source of accident-inducing distraction. The Texas Legislature attempted to address the dangers of texting while driving by banning the reading and sending of text messages while behind the wheel.
That law did not survive the Governor’s veto authority.
Many may think that hands-free texting or voice-activated texting is a safe alternative to hands-on texting while driving. But, if you are among those that do, you may be wrong.
A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study compared those who were using voice-operated texting apps with those who were using their own fingers to type and send messages via a mobile device.
The results? Both hands-on and hands-free texting took drivers’ attention away from the roadway, leaving room for a distracted driving accident to occur.
Voice-activated texting is not similar to speaking with passengers who also share the vehicle with a driver. Even those using the voice-activated mechanisms to send messages while behind the wheel were less engaged in the process of driving and less likely to notice and appropriately react to changes in road conditions or other drivers.
While the drivers who used handheld devices to text while driving for purposes of the Virginia Tech study faired much more poorly as compared to those who used a handsfree, Bluetooth or voice-activated device to text, neither did as well as a driver focused on the road, undistracted by a mobile device.
Source: The Atlantic Cities, “Voice-Operated Texting While Driving: As Unsafe As It Ever Was,” January 21, 2012