Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Cellphones Communications

Another Study Confirms Hands-Free Texting While Driving Is Unsafe 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-that-anybody-who-texts-behind-wheel-will-stop dept.
schwit1 writes with a followup to a story we discussed in April about how using voice-activated texting while driving was no safer than using your hands. Now, a study by AAA has found that using voice commands to send texts is more dangerous than simply talking on your cellphone. "Texting a friend verbally while behind the wheel caused a 'large' amount of mental distraction compared with 'moderate/significant' for holding a phone conversation or talking with a passenger and 'small' when listening to music or an audio book, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a report released today. Automakers have promoted voice-based messaging as a safer alternative to taking hands off the wheel to place a call and talk on a handheld phone. About 9 million infotainment systems will be shipped this year in cars sold worldwide, with that number projected to rise to more than 62 million by 2018, according to a March report by London-based ABI Research. 'As we push towards these hands-free systems, we may be solving one problem while creating another,' said Joel Cooper, a University of Utah assistant research professor who worked on the study. 'Tread lightly. There's a lot of rush to develop these systems.' The findings from the largest U.S. motorist group bolster National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman's call to ban all phone conversations behind the wheel, even with hands-free devices."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Another Study Confirms Hands-Free Texting While Driving Is Unsafe

Comments Filter:
  • And in other news, water is wet, and jumping off a tall building is a "bad idea."

    • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @02:01PM (#43988251) Homepage

      And in other news, water is wet, and jumping off a tall building is a "bad idea."

      And yet, I could stand at almost any intersection with a camera, and I bet at least 25% of all drivers are in the middle of talking or texting despite it being illegal. Some days, it seems like more.

      As long as people still believe that they are so highly evolved they can do this without problem, it will continue to be one. Not unlike people who believe they're still good drivers when they're half hammered.

      • Re:No shit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @02:12PM (#43988377) Homepage Journal

        And yet, I could stand at almost any intersection with a camera, and I bet at least 25% of all drivers are in the middle of talking or texting despite it being illegal.

        Illegal's not the problem. If it were safe yet illegal it would only be their problem. Since it's so dangerous it's everybody's problem.

        Perhaps part of the problem is that there are laws that impact no one but the person breaking the law. That leads to disrespect for law in general.

        • Re:No shit (Score:4, Interesting)

          by pspahn (1175617) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @03:24PM (#43989141)

          Perhaps part of the problem is that there are laws that impact no one but the person breaking the law.

          Nice. So how about we amend TWD laws so that if you provide proof that a driver was TWDing (photo, video, etc... NOT while you are driving yourself, and not with automated equipment) then the $50 fine the person gets hammered with goes right into your pocket instead (minus some administrative overhead).

        • by PortHaven (242123)

          Well gee golly, isn't talking on the cell phone supposed to be worse than drinking and driving. If you're seeing 25% of the drivers on their phone. And those studies were actually legitimate. Well, there must be hundreds dead on those corners.

          Or perhaps those studies were aiming for a certain desired result... and talking on a cell phone is no where near as bad as drunk driving.

      • As long as people still believe that they are so highly evolved they can do this without problem, it will continue to be one.

        So, 20 years ago, before all this got started, traffic fatality rates were higher (both absolutely and per mile traveled) than they are now.

        Do any of these studies explain why it's a problem that accident rates have been DECLINING since long before texting or chatting on a cell while driving became common?

        • As long as people still believe that they are so highly evolved they can do this without problem, it will continue to be one.

          So, 20 years ago, before all this got started, traffic fatality rates were higher (both absolutely and per mile traveled) than they are now.

          Do any of these studies explain why it's a problem that accident rates have been DECLINING since long before texting or chatting on a cell while driving became common?

          Do they need to? Airbags, crash testing, frame strengthening, and many, many other safety technologies have been around so long (at least since the 1970's), they're kind of a given.

          • /sighs

            They haven't stopped declining SINCE cellphones became a big thing, either.

            Note that tech from the '70s does NOT imply continued improvement from, say 1990 to 2013, which would be covered by "20 years ago". I wasn't talking about "traffic fatalities fell from 1980 to 2000, then stopped declining". I'm talking "they started declining way back, and ARE STILL DECLINING!

            In spite of all the people talking on their cellphones.

            • by bws111 (1216812)

              Yes, because OTHER IMPROVEMENTS to safety are ongoing. The point which you can't seem to grasp is that they would be declining at a STEEPER RATE if people were not talking on their phones or texting.

            • But if people stopped using their mobile while operating a vehicle, they would decline even more! That is the issue here!
            • /sighs

              They haven't stopped declining SINCE cellphones became a big thing, either.

              ... and safety technology hasn't stopped increasing during that time period, either.

              Here's my question to you: you say that traffic fatalities have been declining... what about overall accident rates? Unless they've been on the decline as well, and in similar or better numbers than the fatalities, you're really only helping me prove my point.

              FWIW, according to this document from the census bureau, [census.gov] overall accident rates have remained fairly steady over the last few decades, with fatalities and serious injur

            • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

              I wasn't talking about "traffic fatalities fell from 1980 to 2000, then stopped declining". I'm talking "they started declining way back, and ARE STILL DECLINING!

              In spite of all the people talking on their cellphones.

              And you somehow think that measuring fatalities is the metric?

              That would imply that any unsafe act would result in only fatalities, no simple accidents, no injuries or property damage only accidents.

              before we go on too far, not everything is declining. 2012 saw an increase in teen vehicle fatalities. Even so, there is an improper fixation on only fatalities.

              http://ghsa.org/html/publications/pdf/spotlights/spotlight_teens12.pdf [ghsa.org]

              A friends daughter has been involved in 2 TWD accidents. First time she

          • by Intropy (2009018)

            All of the technologies you mention would increase rather than decrease accident rates. Something like anti-lock brakes would decrease it.

          • Do they need to? Airbags, crash testing, frame strengthening, and many, many other safety technologies have been around so long (at least since the 1970's), they're kind of a given.

            Airbags, crash testing, frame strengthening, and the like DO NOTHING to prevent accidents. They simply make it more likely for people to survive a collision.

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          There are causes of accidents other than distracted driving. In the last 20 years many improvements have been made to the cars and roads. There has also been increased focus on DWI. Put those things together, and you have a declining accident rate, EVEN IF the rate of accidents from distracted driving is going up.

          You make it sound like there is some acceptable rate of traffic deaths, and as long as we maintain that rate there is no reason to try to improve. The acceptable rate is 0, and once we hit that

      • I absolutely text at a stop light...ONLY at a stop light and ONLY when I have a friend to tell me if the light is green.

        I ignore even business calls when I am driving, I also drive a manual SPECIFICALLY to keep my attention on the vehicle, of course driving a 480hp M5 makes you pay attention or youll end up making a guardrail look like twisted re-bar faster than you can say "hi, yeah im available"

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        And yet, I could stand at almost any intersection with a camera, and I bet at least 25% of all drivers are in the middle of talking or texting despite it being illegal. Some days, it seems like more.

        And yet, you would probably not be seeing an accident even if you stood there all year...

    • Exactly
    • by hb253 (764272)
      Indeed, yet another "no shit Sherlock" statement of the obvious.
  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @01:55PM (#43988187) Homepage Journal

    And other research shows that the sky is blue when It's daytime and there are no clouds. What does it take to convince people? Especially people stupid enough to text while driving?

    Look, folks, a text isn't like a phone call. It's like email. That goddamned text will wait until you're stopped.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      Well, as far as I know, this is only the second study that consider hand-free texting. So i'd say, I will only be convinced myself after a couple more.

  • Even worse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @01:57PM (#43988217) Journal

    What is more dangerous is having stupid people driving..... period. Whether they are texting, juggling, talking on the phone, or playing PS3. Especially when they try to merge onto a 65 MPH freeway going 30 MPH.

  • Tasks such as listening to the radio ranked as a category “1” level of distraction or a minimal risk.

    Are we talking vapid pop music, idiot morning DJ's, or "stimulating" discussions on Public Radio? My gut tells me that these aren't equally distracting. Additionally, what qualifies as "listening" to radio. There are some people who sing along to songs on the radio, or switch stations constantly. Is this what the experiment simulated, or did people just drive while passively listening?

  • Neat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by denmarkw00t (892627) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @01:59PM (#43988235) Homepage Journal

    Remember last time when Texas A&M did this? They asked people to LOOK AT THE PHONES AND MAKE SURE THE TEXT WAS CORRECT. Of course it's more distracting. I don't know the details of this study, TFA is light on details and direction (though it mentions the A&M study).

    In case no one here was aware - doing anything other than driving, when you're driving, means you aren't driving at 100%/

    • I don't know about you, but whenever I use the voice-to-text capabilities in android there are multiple wrong words. Given that, I'd be willing to be that the vast majority of people would in fact check to make sure the text was correct before sending.

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        I wrote my own hands free texting app, that automatically determines when you're driving (based on speed). It solves this in a very simple way- after you speak your response, it repeats it and asks if you're sure you want to send. If you say no, it lets you re-enter your response. No need to look at a phone at all.

        Cheap plug: Text Soundly is available at the Play Store here [google.com].

      • I mainly use the text-to-speech function if I'm walking and want to compose a text message. (Little danger of a high speed collision there.) One time I decided to use it as I started my car (but was still parked). It changed "each" in my text to my wife to "eat sh**" (yes, it put in asterisks). Next time, I'll keep take the extra few seconds to type out my message (while keeping the car in Park, of course).

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Which means,

      Radio on? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
      Passengers in car? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
      Windows Open? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
      hungry? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
      Tired? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
      Angry? YOU ARE UNSAFE!
      Happy? YOU ARE UNSAFE!

      basically by all these studies, unless you are driving with the concentration of a race car driver, YOU ARE UNSAFE!!!!!!!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

      Yet they ignore that most drivers are simply unsafe because they are far too stupid to be driving a car to begin with. Example, Tailgaiters, weavers (drif

    • by CCarrot (1562079)

      Remember last time when Texas A&M did this? They asked people to LOOK AT THE PHONES AND MAKE SURE THE TEXT WAS CORRECT. Of course it's more distracting. I don't know the details of this study, TFA is light on details and direction (though it mentions the A&M study).

      In case no one here was aware - doing anything other than driving, when you're driving, means you aren't driving at 100%/

      Precisely. I suspect you have the right of it.

      If people were merely using voice control to compose and send texts, without looking at the screen at all, there is no way that this activity could score worse than talking to a passenger. It is not logical.

  • I have no interested in texting and driving. But, I can't help but wonder if these hands free capabilities were easier to use if the outcome of this study would have been different. I have two cars with voice recognition capabilities. One, works pretty well. The other is so difficult to use I would never use it while driving. If using hands free technologies were like having a conversation with someone sitting beside you, I would think the level of distraction would be significantly less than is curren
  • by fermion (181285) on Wednesday June 12, 2013 @02:11PM (#43988363) Homepage Journal
    What I disagree with is all these laws that punish the acts of distracted driving, but all too often do not sufficiently punish the damage, or place the responsibility on the people who choose to take the risk.

    Like drunk driving, I would like to see that laws punish those that actually cause damage, not just arbitrarily set rules and regulation. If someone is driving recklessly, I don't care if they are distracted or just don't know how to drive, they should be ticketed. Why should a attentive reckless driver be treated better than a distracted driver. If someone gets into an auto incident because they are drunk or because they are texting, then assign the blame completely on them. Sure the other party might have done something wrong, but in most situations it is two way street. Both drivers have to be aware so that when mistakes are made, which we all do, everyone is aware enough to avoid the incident. If someone dies as a result, and it is not the distracted driver, then manslaughter charges and prison time should be the norm. Not wasting cops time setting up roadblocks to punish drivers that are otherwise safe.

    • by thoth (7907)

      All that sounds great, but then the majority of Slashdot posters also vehemently defend their 4th Amendment rights against improper search and seizure. Look at the thread about cops examining cell phones at crash sites.

      I'm not disagreeing, I'm just pointing out that assigning blame onto somebody requires investigative work, evidence gathering, due process and so on - can't count on the guilty party to voluntarily confess they were distracted, 5th Amendment and all - so how exactly is that going to mesh up w

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      If you are engaging in the activities that cause you to get punished at a roadblock, then you are NOT 'otherwise safe'. You just have not yet met the condition for your lack of safety to be exposed.

      The main problem with your idea is that it requires someone to actually be harmed before any action is taken. That is just stupid. That harm could have easily been prevented in the first place, and it should have been.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      I feel like that type of law aims at reducing the number of people that get into accidents. If you ticket (or jail) people AFTER the accident, I do not think people would care as much and do it by themself. Once you are dead, you don't care about getting a ticket.

      If you applied that to speeding, there are many cases where I could speed safely, but I do not because I need to keep my driving license. My judgement of when it is safe to speed or not is certainly not perfect, and that would make the road more da

      • by Entropius (188861)

        Your judgment of whether or not to speed is nearly always better than the people who impose speed limits, though. Their claim, by establishing a speed limit, is "it is sufficiently unsafe to drive above speed X that it is worth using coercion backed up by violence against you to prevent you from doing so".

        That changes based on traffic, road conditions, lighting conditions, and the type of vehicle. Speed limits, in attempting to say "well, you usually shouldn't go above 50mph", are overbroad: they ban certai

  • If my wife texts me while im in the car Ill engage Siri and voice text back. However, if it doesnt work exactly right on the first try, i give up until i can pull over. I found i was dedicating too much brain power trying to correct it. I also make sure i fully form the message in my head before i engage Siri
    • And really this is the major problem. I can't just say
      "Siri, text wife, pickup milk on your way home".

      Its NEVER that easy, and if it was it would be pretty safe to use while driving.

  • that putting your hand in hot boiling water is unsafe.
  • I know this article is about hands-free, but, sadly, too many people seem to think that looking at a phone instead of the road for 15 seconds while travelling 60mph is just fine. The reality is that, in that time at that speed, you've traveled for a quarter mile. If *ANYTHING* happened in front of you during that time, you either have less time to react or no time to react. Each time you do that, you are playing Russian Roulette with your life and the lives of everyone else around you. If a text is THAT

  • If you handle a gun, your priority is safety. Your safety and that of others. That is your first priority and the only priority.
    Traffic is dangerous too, so it's the same there.
    If your text messages are so important that it can't wait 10 minutes, you better be so bloody important that you can afford a driver.

  • ... makes understanding why there are people wanting no gun control easier. It is just selfish.
  • Apparently setting off extremely high-powered flashguns near the side of the road aimed at drivers -- blinding some people for significant periods of time -- is fine, since it's done for "safety". So are sending police around to make traffic stops with dazzlingly bright LED light bars.

  • My guess is there isn't one -- whatever we do that increases safety today is never enough, and we're always demanding the next level of safety, chasing ever-more elusive risks and trying to eliminate them while failing to consider the costs of doing it.

"No job too big; no fee too big!" -- Dr. Peter Venkman, "Ghost-busters"

Working...