A study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) finds there is really no safe way to text while driving.
Students at the University of Utah had their driving performance, brainwaves, reaction times and eye movements measured as they drove automobiles while engaged in a number of other activities, including talking on cell phones and texting. The researchers found that using hands-free cell phones for voice conversations wasn’t much less distracting that conversing while holding the phone. They also found that texting by voice command was actually more distracting than talking on a cell phone, the Associated Press notes.
According to researchers, using voice commands to send, receive, compose and delete text messages required drivers to concentrate harder on those tasks — and thus less on operating the vehicle — than simply speaking with someone else with a phone.
The study comes as a blow to mobile device makers who have partnered with automobile manufacturers to integrate “hands-free” voice and texting systems into vehicle entertainment systems. Those hands-free systems were thought to be safer than handheld device use.
Apple (AAPL), for example, is planning to introduce full iOS integration to dashboard systems in cars from General Motors (GM), Mercedes-Benz, Honda (HMC) and Nissan (NSANY).
In April, a study from Texas A&M University found that using voice commands to text was just as distracting as physically typing texts while driving.