A recent study sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center and conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute is a first of its kind study to measure the performance of drivers who used manually texting while driving vs. voice to text apps while driving.  The results show no real benefit in the use of voice to text apps over traditional manual texting.

The study

The study was conducted on a closed course track.  Forty-three drivers drove the closed course without any distractions.  Measurements were taken for reaction time to traffic signals, pedestrians and other routine traffic encounters.  The drivers then each drove the course with the same encounters, but at varied times, while trying to manually text, while using the Siri talk to text app and while using the Vlingo for Android talk to text app.

The results

The study found that driver’s response times were significantly delayed, regardless of which texting method they used.  Drivers took almost twice as long to react to sudden roadway hazards when they were texting as opposed to when they were not, even if using a voice to text app.  In fact, the study found that for most tasks, manual testing required slightly less time than the voice to text method.

Probably the most prominent finding was that texting took the driver’s eyes off the road for almost 5 seconds.  The study equated this to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed!