By now, we’ve all heard of the dangers of texting while driving. Most states have adopted laws to curb it. But there’s another warning you probably haven’t heard: talking into a mobile device that translates words into a text message is just as risky.

Voice-activated messaging was supposed to reduce the dangers caused by the 6.1 billion texts sent by drivers each day. Not so, says the first major study on this subject. The study concludes that anything that takes a motorist’s concentration from driving is a distraction and a disaster waiting to happen.

Eyes On the Road

Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University studied 43 participants on a test track. The participants drove without any electronic devices present, then drove while texting, and finally drove while using a speech-to-text device.

The drivers’ eye contact with the road decreased and their reaction time rose no matter which method of texting they used. Furthermore, speech-to-text actually took longer than traditional texting, due to the need to correct errors in the electronic transcription.

One concern is that drivers felt safer while using voice-to-text applications instead of traditional texting, even though their driving performance was equally affected. The research challenges the false belief that it is safe to use spoken commands to text while driving.

Numbers Add Up

Some 35 percent of drivers in the United States admit to reading a text or email while driving in any given month, while 26 percent have typed a text or email, according to the AAA motorists club. About 3,300 people died and 387,000 others were injured in crashes attributed to distracted driving in 2011, according to www.distraction.gov, the federal website on distracted driving.

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have banned the use of hand-held devices to tap out text messages while driving. Ten states and the District of Columbia also prohibit the use of hand-held devices for almost all purposes while driving.

Our South Carolina car accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm urge you to practice safe driving. For the sake of everyone on the road, do not send texts – even with a voice-activated device – while you are behind the wheel.

If you were hurt in a South Carolina auto collision that was someone else’s fault, contact Joye Law Firm today. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and expenses.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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