Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Hands-Free Or Voice-Activated Texting Not Safer

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the guess-everybody-will-have-to-go-back-to-doing-it-the-old-way dept.

Communications 157

Meshach writes "A recent study (PDF) detailed in the Washington Post verifies that using hands-free or voice-activated texting is no safer than texting with your hands while you are driving a car. Using a handheld device to tap out a text message while driving has been banned in many states and provinces. From the article: '"One of the common comments was that they felt an inclination to look down at the screen to see if it heard them correctly, so that could be one possible explanation of why they were not looking at the roadway more frequently," Yager said. She said drivers said they felt safer when using voice-activated texting than when entering messages on a keyboard. "Perhaps it is because they view it as safer and therefore it must be, but still they have this inclination to look down at the screen," she said. "We found that their driving performance suffered equally with both methods." As has been proven in studies of cellphone conversations, Yager said drivers engaged in any form of texting were distracted by the communication effort.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

only partially agree (3, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530065)

In response to a big push by LEO in CA on the cell phone laws, I recently got one of those dorky 90's dash mounts for my phone. it's great because the phone is pretty much in my line of sight, but it's still distracting to activate the voice sms dictation. So I would say it's MUCH better than doing it by hand, but still not as good as not doing it!

Re:only partially agree (4, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530223)

If you have an android phone, I wrote an app, TextSoundly, that automatically detects when you're moving at driving speeds and turns on voice texting/response.

Re:only partially agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530353)

I travel by bus you insensitive clod!

Re:only partially agree (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530465)

Then you're risking lives of 50 other people you're transporting.

Re:only partially agree (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530715)

Then you're risking lives of 50 other people you're transporting.

Poeple on buse's are either poor or black or boath. If JESUS wanted them too live hee'd have gaved them limoe's.

Re:only partially agree (2)

bughunter (10093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531297)

Either Kerstyun's spelling would benefit from using the speech recognition feature of his device, or he's got a horrible speech impediment.

Re:only partially agree (2)

ranpel (1255408) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530485)

Dock it in the pirate bay and ask people to pay if they like it, preferably before it saves their life. Safety first I'd say.

It sounds like a requisite function for those that might communicate as if they needn't pay attention to driving and very helpful for those that may know driving requires a good degree of concentration but need and want to communicate anyway. Good luck with your app.

Re:only partially agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530543)

I'd be very likely to try it if you had a 'lite' version. Hard to throw $5 at an app with no reviews without being able to test it.

Re:only partially agree (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530713)

Unfortunately its hard to build a lite version. There's almost no features that can be removed without making the app useless. And you can't advertise if you don't look at it- no click throughs.

Re:only partially agree (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530747)

Singing ads.

Be the first, start a trend!

Re:only partially agree (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530803)

Oh god, don't give developers ideas like that!

Re:only partially agree (2)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530943)

Oh god, don't give developers ideas like that!

I second that emotion. One of my least favorite things about the web is its habit of competing to have the most obnoxious auto-play videos on the home page, or worse, on deeper pages. Autoplay is to the web what "volume-up!" for commercials is to television: A way to make an unpalatable but necessary facet of the site or programming into a braying, annoying burden to be circumvented. "Volume up!" is one of the top 5 reasons consumers give for using DVRs to zap commercials.

Personally, I just don't use sites that start braying video at me the moment I hit their homepage--I prefer to listen to music and don't want to hear an advertisement for a car come blaring into me headphones.

Re:only partially agree (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531317)

I considered talking ads for about .5 seconds, then rejected them. I don't like text ads, audio ads would be annoying as hell.

Re:only partially agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43531881)

Fair enough. I have seen apps which have both a free and paid version with no feature differences, essentially making them donationware; it looks like you've got a pretty small install base right now, maybe it can't hurt to try? Or perhaps have the free version work for a week? I realize that reasonably competent users can defeat such measures, but then again reasonably competent users can install pirated .apks anyway.

Re:only partially agree (4, Informative)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530247)

However, the problem is that this study is only looking at reaction time, which is pretty limited of a measure. This is especially true since its also been found that cell phone accidents are likely not entirely caused by reaction time issues.

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/08/why-cell-phone-bans-dont-work.html [sciencemag.org]

So, bad drivers, the ones who get in accidents don't just use cell phones, they drive more wrecklessly while using them. They choose to use them at particularly dangerous times. They do, exactly what most people choose not to do.

The problem, quite simply, is not cell phones. They are just the device people have chosen to measure. The problem is not cell phones because, the problem is not reaction time. The problem is judgement and the problem is risk assesment within certain individuals.

Re:only partially agree (2)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530567)

Cell phones also fall prey to confirmation bias. The way the data is collected, is that if a person is using a cell phone, the accident is listed as a cell phone related accident. This is the case even if the driver hasn't slept in three days and the conversation they are having is the only thing keeping them awake while they are legally stopped at a red light and the other vehicle is a car smashing into them from behind because the driver was trying to see their baby in a rear facing car seat that is in the back seat.

Re:only partially agree (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530793)

This is not the only study to reach this conclusion: [manufacturing.net]

Jim Hedlund, a safety consultant and former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official, recently examined 300 cellphone studies for the Governors Highway Safety Association. He couldn't recall a single study that showed drivers talking on a headset or hands-free phone were at any less risk of an accident than drivers with one hand on the wheel and a phone in the other.

It does add:

What's missing is hard evidence that accidents are increasing because of cellphone use. One reason is that U.S. privacy laws have made it difficult for researchers to study whether cell phones were in use in accidents in the U.S. The two large studies that have been done — in Canada and Australia — found drivers were four times more likely to have a crash if talking on a cellphone. It didn't matter whether the cellphone was hands-free or hand-held.

So this is just another bit of evidence that the two are really no different, and there appears to be no suggestion to the contrary, that hands-free using cell phone drivers are as safe as ones not using a cell phone.

Speaking from personal experience, I do think hands-free cell phone use is distracting in a way that a person sitting next to you isn't. I'm wondering if the connection is out, wondering if they can hear me, fiddling with the phone, making sure the phone isn't falling on the floor, trying to understand what they're saying. Hands free texting, you're making sure if it translated you correctly. And the person on the phone or the phone itself can't say 'HOLYFUCKGOD!!! LOOK OUT!!!" alerting me to a child I'm about to mow down like a passenger in the car with me can.

Re:only partially agree (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531093)

I do think hands-free cell phone use is distracting in a way that a person sitting next to you isn't. I'm wondering if the connection is out, wondering if they can hear me, fiddling with the phone, making sure the phone isn't falling on the floor, trying to understand what they're saying.

You really worry a lot about your cell conversations, don't you?

For me, the main difference between talking on my cell (bluetooth headset, mind you) and to my wife sitting beside me is that I am much more likely to turn to face my wife when I'm talking to her - on the cell I just watch the road....

Type of Study (1)

sfm (195458) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530795)

I agree with the parent, reaction time is only a single measure of driver "effectiveness". I can't help but wonder if we are asking the wrong questions in these studies. A better study would compare the accident rates in locations that have hands-free/no-text laws with those that don't.

One study by the Highway Loss Data Institute [iihs.org] indicates a slight increase in accidents after no-texting laws are introduced. One possible explanation is that with the new laws, drivers continue to text but with the phone below the window sightline, causing the driver to look away from the road for longer periods of time.

Exactly the opposite result as the law intended!

 

Re:only partially agree (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530815)

they drive more wrecklessly while using them

If they were driving wrecklessly, there wouldn't be a problem. Perhaps you meant recklessly?

Re:only partially agree (2)

LukeWebber (117950) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530949)

So, bad drivers, the ones who get in accidents don't just use cell phones, they drive more wreckfully while using them.

FTFY. Unless you meant recklessly that is.

Re:only partially agree (1)

bughunter (10093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531315)

bad drivers, the ones who get in accidents don't just use cell phones, they drive more wrecklessly while using them.

Your statement (as currently spelled) seems to imply that bad (i.e., accident prone) drivers should use their cell phones while driving!

Re:only partially agree (2)

mjwx (966435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43532075)

However, the problem is that this study is only looking at reaction time, which is pretty limited of a measure

But a very, very important measure.

Reaction time covers the time it takes you for your brain to react, to actually tell you body to do something.

A 3 second reaction time (not unusual for a tired or distracted human) at 60 KPH means you travel 50 metres before even hitting the brakes, it takes another 18 meters to stop with good tyres on dry bitumen. 60 KPH is not particularly fast either. For a good reaction speed of 0.5 seconds, your reaction distance is 8.5 metres at 60 KPH. So reaction time is quite important as it determine reaction distance.

So, bad drivers, the ones who get in accidents don't just use cell phones, they drive more wrecklessly while using them

Did you think that maybe these two behaviours are linked. Someone distracted by their mobile phone will not be paying attention to their vehicle. Very few humans can actually multi-task, for the most part we use time division multiplexing, our brains act like a multithread, single core processor. Put simply, when they are concentrating on their phone, they aren't paying any attention to their driving.

They are just the device people have chosen to measure.

The device they are measuring is good, in fact it's very important as it governs the distance you travel before you even react to an unexpected risk, I.E. if a pedestrian who is too busy paying attention to their phone walks out on the road without looking, as demonstrated above, the reaction increases 41 metres over 2.5 seconds, this is the difference between missing the pedestrian and killing them.

The problem, quite simply, is not cell phones.

The problem is not just mobile phones, rather the prevailing attitude that people think they are good enough to use a phone whilst driving when in reality, they are dangerous enough when their full attention is on the road (see the Dunning-Kruger Effect). The guy who totalled my parked Supra was on the phone, so distracted he hit a parked car with no other traffic on the road and wrote off the car in a rear end collision (and good luck replacing a mint condition 2001 Supra in 2009).

As someone who tracks their car regularly, I see a lot of people who think they are so awesome that they can speed and use their phone come to the track, it's no exaggeration that 9 out of 10 of them lose control and spin out into the sand on the first hairpin. Most people have no idea of their limits or their cars limits and knowing these people are on the road, I wont use my phone in the car (I wont take the risk that they'll hit me whilst I'm distracted).

Re:only partially agree (3, Insightful)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530263)

"Yager said drivers engaged in any form of texting were distracted by the communication effort.'"

The brain can multitask 4 things at any one time, driving a car uses most of the brain's abilities. You throw another distraction into the mix and you're basically 'driving impaired'. I've been a passenger while the driver was engrossed in a hands free conversation staring at his phone on the seat while making his point. I say, "brake... brake.... BRAKE!!!" until he looks up and avoids slamming into the slowed car in front of us.

Everyone thinks they are the best driver in the world until they aren't. Safely pull over somewhere before you use any electronic gizmo, reach for the item you dropped. Graveyards are filled with too many who died for dumb actions while driving.

Re:only partially agree (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530377)

You really can't multi-task unless it is in your muscle memory.

What you are really doing is time slicing. And even if it is in your muscle memory, it still takes a time slice- just a smaller one.

And having a passenger in the car takes another time slice too. More if they are saying something interesting or distracting.

Re:only partially agree (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43532043)

You really can't multi-task unless it is in your muscle memory.

What you are really doing is time slicing. And even if it is in your muscle memory, it still takes a time slice- just a smaller one.

And having a passenger in the car takes another time slice too. More if they are saying something interesting or distracting.

This, very few humans can truly multi-task. Must just use time division multiplexing (like a multi thread, single core processor)

So when they are paying any attention to their phone, they are paying zero attention to their driving.

With a passenger, the passenger has the advantage of being aware of the situation so they can shut up if things get risky.

I've had two accidents in my driving life. Both times I was rear ended by a distracted driver, the first was too busy eating his breakfast, the second was turning around to scream at her kids (there was a third time where someone on the phone totalled my parked Supra, but I was nowhere near it when that happened). Most drivers can barely keep it together when they have no distractions, they're a rolling accident when distracted.

Re:only partially agree (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530761)

You're supposed to yell "Pull up! Pull up!"

Oh, wait, wrong movie.

Re:only partially agree (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531437)

You're supposed to yell "Pull up! Pull up!"

Oh, wait, wrong movie.

Exact same feeling though. :)

Re:only partially agree (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530527)

In response to a big push by LEO in CA on the cell phone laws, I recently got one of those dorky 90's dash mounts for my phone. it's great because the phone is pretty much in my line of sight, but it's still distracting to activate the voice sms dictation. So I would say it's MUCH better than doing it by hand, but still not as good as not doing it!

Yep, driving while slightly less distracted is still driving distracted. All it takes is one of those morons who changes lanes without a signal or believes passing with no room to spare will work because you'll see them and you're sunk. Doesn't matter who is right or wrong, if you could have avoided it you could have avoided having your car towed off and dealing with the logistics of being without it. Assuming you survive.

Re:only partially agree (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530677)

This is why I tell my kids, that driving takes 100% concentration. That while most of the time, 50-80% is usually good enough, you can't predict when the asshole in the left lane is going to swerve right three lanes because he is about to miss his exit, because he was too busy getting a BJ from his boyfriend or talking/txting/watching a video on a cell phone.

The point is, it doesn't matter what the other guy is doing, he is the danger. If you're 100% concentrating on driving you have a much better chance of avoiding the accident. AND that is worth everything.

Re:only partially agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530967)

If you're 100% concentrating on driving...

...then either you won't be in five seconds, or you are a robot, because human beings are not capable of devoting 100% of their mental effort to a task for more than a few seconds. No, you can't do it either.

You are putting your kids at risk by distorting the facts and subsequently their expectations.

Re:only partially agree (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#43532363)

What that driver in the left lane is doing is seeing how many cars he/she can pass, because it's something fun to break up the monotony -- and then they suddenly realize their amusement has distracted them from getting off the highway where they want to. Seen it happen many times. Not just in California.

Re:only partially agree (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531277)

OP should say "yet another study", because this is hardly the first study to show this. I know of another one that was at least a couple of years ago.

But I guess in a way that's the point: these studies have continued to show the same thing: hands-free conversations are no safer than phone-to-ear conversations.

Having said that, and I know lots of people will disagree with me, but there have been other studies showing that in regard to cell phones and accidents, correlation most definitely does not equal causation. So these "no talking on cell phones while driving" laws are bullshit.

Having said that: there DOES appear to be a causative link between texting and accidents.

Personally, I think if they really want to crack down on "distracted driving", what they need to do is ban children.

Here's a thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530087)

Use a bluetooth headset, and just call them on the phone. How hard can that be really.

Re:Here's a thought... (5, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530253)

Studies have shown that bluetooth headsets make no difference when it comes to preventing accidents. The cause is clear, just sit in a car during an in-car conversation and simulate a near accident by stomping the breaks hard without provocation.

All talking stops instantly and stays stopped during the entire perceived danger. Granted, you may get bruises for freaking everybody out, but you'll understand the point:

Conversations in a car will never the be the same as a conversation happening with somebody outside the car. People driving with you inadvertently "help" you in a crisis by pausing in their communications during a crisis situation.

Interestingly, there's a small percentage of people (around 15% or so) for whom talking on a cell phone has no measurable effect on their driving. These are people with the ability to interrupt the conversation flow, saying "just a minute" or simply ignoring the conversation altogether during a crisis.

If you want training in how to do this, I'd recommend getting a pilot's license. While getting even a basic private license, the number of things you are expected to do precisely, concurrently during takeoff/landing boggles the mind to a newbie coming from a car. You are commonly expected to be manipulating radio controls, rudder controls, Elevator controls, and Aileron controls concurrently while watching a half dozen instruments and chatting with some guy a mile away in a tower.

You figure out quick how to ignore him when something unexpected happens!

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530323)

Studies have shown that bluetooth headsets make no difference when it comes to preventing accidents.

I am pretty sure you mean "Studies have shown that talking on bluetooth headset is less safe than talking to passengers in the car"

Bluetooth headsets still make all the difference in preventing accidents, because using one is far safer to as compared to holding the phone up to your ear and driving with one hand.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530643)

Even the "driving with one hand" is BS. People will make all sorts of excuses, but A) A huge percentage of the people don't drive with both hands even if they are not doing anything else at the same time. B) People driving stick shifts can't keep both hands on the wheel any better than someone on a phone.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530989)

A) A huge percentage of the people don't drive with both hands even if they are not doing anything else at the same time.

Yeah, I usually drive with one hand, but that is only until I need to show a turn signal (or actually turn). That's when you do need the second hand.

Re:Here's a thought... (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531347)

That's when you drive with your knee.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531549)

Yeah, I usually drive with one hand, but that is only until I need to show a turn signal (or actually turn). That's when you do need the second hand.

I usually just turn with the heel of my palm if it's especially sharp and signal with my left hand which is the one on the wheel anyway. If you're sufficiently dextrous, you can also turn by twisting your wrist and snapping it around to grab the wheel to continue the turn. Harder and harder the older you get though.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531509)

Bluetooth headsets still make all the difference in preventing accidents, because using one is far safer to as compared to holding the phone up to your ear and driving with one hand.

I drive one-handed naturally anyway, unless something untoward happens. Which I assure you if it did, the phone would go flying and both hands would be on the wheel in the same amount of time as if the phone hadn't been in my hands. At least before. Now to comply with the law I do in fact have a bluetooth device.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530345)

"Studies have shown that bluetooth headsets make no difference when it comes to preventing accidents."
citation? I thought not.

Re:Here's a thought... (2)

Kidbro (80868) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530847)

A bunch of citations in Wikipedia's section about it [wikipedia.org] .

Quoth http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199702133360701#t=articleResults [nejm.org] :

We observed no safety advantage to hands-free as compared with hand-held telephones. This finding was not explained by imbalances in the subjects' age, education, socioeconomic status, or other demographic characteristics. Nor can it be explained by suggesting that those with units that leave the hands free do more driving. One possibility is that motor vehicle collisions result from a driver's limitations with regard to attention rather than dexterity. Regardless of the explanation, our data do not support the policy followed in some countries of restricting hand-held cellular telephones but not those that leave the hands free.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531517)

OP Delivers ... [lmgtfy.com] Check out the very first article. (not like this was hard)

Re:Here's a thought... (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530799)

Piloting a plane while talking is very different than talking when driving. For the specific reason you point out - you are trained to engage in specific conversations with specific people using a specific language. When things get difficult, you shut up if at all possible.

Same with Police, Fire, Ambulance drivers - you have a limited, scripted set of tasks.

It's not the random babble with bog-knows-what that constitutes random phone conversation.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

chihowa (366380) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530915)

Conversations in a car will never the be the same as a conversation happening with somebody outside the car. People driving with you inadvertently "help" you in a crisis by pausing in their communications during a crisis situation.

Even more than that, an abrupt pause in the conversation from the driver or a loud noise will prompt the person on the other end to ramp up their level of distraction: "OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK?! WHAT'S HAPPENING?! WHY AREN'T YOU TALKING???" and try to compete for your attention at the most crucial moment.

Re:Here's a thought... (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530981)

Interestingly, there's a small percentage of people (around 15% or so) for whom talking on a cell phone has no measurable effect on their driving. These are people with the ability to interrupt the conversation flow, saying "just a minute" or simply ignoring the conversation altogether during a crisis.

When there's a serious traffic issue, I don't even have the ability to say "just a minute". My brain locks in on the road, and about a minute later, I say, "I'm sorry, I had to deal with traffic. What were you saying?" I just assumed everyone's brain worked that way. It's part of the basic fight-or-flight response programmed into pretty much all higher forms of animal life. When you sense danger, you freeze and you focus on the situation at hand.

Who are these 85%, and taxonomically speaking, which kingdom are they classified in?

Read back (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530099)

My hands free reads my text back to me after I speak it and then asks for a confirmation.... That *should* be safer as I am not looking at the device...

Re:Read back (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530667)

Not if your study is rigged to show that it isn't.

Re:Read back (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531133)

That depends. Are you listening to it to verify that your hands free got it correct? If so, then your brain is occupied doing that instead of driving and it is not any safer than looking at the screen. It isn't the fact that your eyes left the road for a split second, it's that your brain quit the driving task and shifted to the texting task and has to shift back to driving again, meanwhile, your car has traveled a football field or so down the highway without you realizing it.

Re:Read back - Siri texting is still distracting (1)

Webcommando (755831) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531659)

My hands free reads my text back to me after I speak it and then asks for a confirmation.... That *should* be safer as I am not looking at the device...

My girlfriend would text me often when I was on the road, so I looked forward to Siri's integrated voice system so I could hear the message while driving. Overall it works well but does become more distracting than a simple phone call in some cases.

So here I am driving and get a text message: First, I need to ask Siri (I'm sure there's similar issues across platforms) to read message and HOPE it can pronounce everything right or there's a temptation to read it on the screen. Then, I wait for the question if I want to respond. I say "yes" and wait for Siri to ask for my message. All this time, I'm concentrating on hearing the prompts.

Next, I dictate my message and HOPE it understood what I was saying. (Note: I do have a bluetooth handsfree built into the car so at least I'm not holding it in one hand up to my face while driving. Although, this probably doesn't work as well as speaking directly in phone). If it repeats wrong, then I have to say "cancel" or "change it" and then wait for the prompt again. This time I concentrate more on how I pronounce everything. If all goes well, then I finally can say "send it".

So something that could be handled in a 10 second phone call now took 30+ seconds of dictating and concentrating on what the phone is saying to me. I can see how this could be just as bad.

This only applies to phones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530109)

That giant touchscreen display for your Pandora, sirius, FM/AM, 6 disc cd changer and environmental controls is completely safe. Bolt a gps and a radar detector to the dash and you practically have a sensory depravation chamber.

Re:This only applies to phones. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530357)

>sensory depravation chamber.

Some great typos today!

"Wrecklessly driving a car" was the other one I spotted on this thread.

Re:This only applies to phones. (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530771)

If everyone drove "wrecklessly", then we wouldn't have any problems. :)

Eyes on the road! (3, Insightful)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530115)

If only there was a way to communicate in real time, via 2 way voice...

Someday.... someday...

Re:Eyes on the road! (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530365)

you mean like on the phone?

Re:Eyes on the road! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530763)

You mean where you have press a soft-button to initiate a call, speak the name, then quickly check the display to see if it's correct, or look to press the soft "cancel" button, or see if it has dialed successfully, or to change to the correct bluetooth, or to change the volume, or to hang up?

Lord help you if you should have to manually tune a touchscreen radio receiver, intialize a podcast, or request a detour from a GPS unit.

I can "voice text" with less interaction than dialing "hands free", and with as little distraction as verifying my speed or the time of day from a non-headsup display.I cannot safely text, read more than a short phrase (6-8 words) on my phone (which is closer to my line of sight than the speedometer), or do any more than absolutely minimum music navigation on my touchscreen head unit (holy shit - finding an album is like asking for death!).

Has more to do with focus than the behavior. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530175)

Texting, eating, makeup, reading the paper, whatever you're doing is irrelevant if you're not watching the road. Dee.

Re:Has more to do with focus than the behavior. (4, Funny)

s1d3track3D (1504503) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530213)

unless your Mr. Bean [youtube.com]

Passengers vs. cell phones (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530179)

So is talking to a passenger as distracting as talking to a hands-free cell phone?

Re:Passengers vs. cell phones (2)

Derekloffin (741455) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530207)

Apparently not, but they figure the reason for such is the passengers tend to compensate with their own awareness for the distraction they add. Remote people can't compensate in this manner, and obviously the phone itself does not either.

Re:Passengers vs. cell phones (2)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530341)

And wow, it scares me that someone on Slashdot doesn't know this and had to ask. It's not like it's some big secret that's being supressed or something. The question comes up pretty much every time the hazards of combining cell phones and driving are discussed, and the answer is always the same. Heck, typing in "is talking to a passenger as distracting as talking to a hands-free cell-phone?" into Google gives pages and pages that answer the question.

Re:Passengers vs. cell phones (0)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530401)

I was able to type just about the same number of characters into a Slashdot comment field, and now everyone reading the comments is given an answer.

I'm not incapable of using Google, I just chose not to in this particular case.

Re:Passengers vs. cell phones (0)

Xtifr (1323) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530533)

So you prefer other people to do your work for you? If you had typed the same number of characters (not counting all the characters you had to type to try to defend your action) into Google, you could have pasted the results here, informed people yourself, and looked smart.

Although I suppose with a nick like yours, looking smart isn't your primary objective, and I'm cool with that. :)

Re:Passengers vs. cell phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530355)

What about stereos? Probably going to have to ban those too. And kids.

The bottom line is that people can be distracted by many things. We don't need a law for each and every possibility. We just need to have a universal distracted driving law and have officers enforce it.

Re:Passengers vs. cell phones (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530481)

What about stereos? Probably going to have to ban those too. And kids.

The bottom line is that people can be distracted by many things. We don't need a law for each and every possibility. We just need to have a universal distracted driving law and have officers enforce it.

I think car stereos are less distracting because they are completely passive. I listen to podcasts in the car regularly, and sometimes in heavy traffic I find that I've missed most of the podcast because I'm concentrating on the traffic rather than the podcast. Conversely, when talking on the phone, I'm an active participant and have to pay attention enough to follow the conversation and respond - sometimes after talking on the the phone while driving, I find that I can't remember miles of driving while on the phone.

The problem with general distracted driving laws is that they leave too much discretion in the hands of police - one officer might not ticket you for distracted driving unless you had both hands off the wheel while wiping your daughter's face in the back seat, while another may ticket you for itching your neck while driving.

It's difficult to fairly enforce broadly worded laws.

hands free is safer (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530239)

if only because you are looking at the road instead of looking down at your screen. it isnt actually much safer because you are still being distracted from driving... but it still is technically safer.

Re:hands free is safer (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530827)

I think the key from the article is that when you are distracted and not looking at the road, your reaction time to things happening in your peripheral vision is longer. They didn't seem to track how long your attention was diverted. I wonder what their results would be if they put drivers through a course where the speed limit changed every 1/2 mile or so (as it does in many residential areas) and required that they stay within +0/-5MPH of the limit at all times. How frequently do you look down to check the speed? How about if you're late and looking at your watch or the dash clock to check the time?

They should really try this study with a touchscreen head unit and selecting a song from a connected audio device. Now THAT's dangerous!

Re:hands free is safer (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531087)

They didn't seem to track how long your attention was diverted.

As an unwilling participant in a recent episode, I can state that the other driver was completely distracted for at least a full 10 seconds, at around 60mph.
She was facing a red light for almost 3 full football fields. I went back and measured the timing of that intersection.

Apparently, actually looking out the window was too much work.

Re:hands free is safer (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531761)

American football or real-world football?

Re:hands free is safer (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43532175)

Like it makes a difference.
Approx 880 fee or 268 meters. Take your pick.

The only logical step (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530269)

Is to place heavy fines on any one caught driving while in possession of a mobile device.
Just think of the added revenue!

Re:The only logical step (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530305)

"place heavy fines on any one caught driving while in possession of a mobile device."

Like, say, a motor vehicle?

How did we ever survive before texting technology? (1)

Greg01851 (720452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530273)

I'm amazed we survived for so long without texting while driving. Whatever will we do if it becomes illegal in any form? Oh the horrors!

Re:How did we ever survive before texting technolo (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530831)

we survived precisely because of lack of texting while driving. our days are numbers DOOM I say DOOM, and it will all begin because of a acne covered teen driving while texting in a Burb Beater.

there I think I covered it all.

Driving unsafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530289)

Driving is inherently unsafe. Add in all the variables, including other drivers, and you've pretty much signed your death warrant. My solution is to ban driving.

It does not support that conlusion (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530327)

Yet another poor quality study.

Almost got into an accident this morning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530359)

How can one keep texting in a merging lane of a freeway?

Watch out for voice-text astro-turfing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530437)

I knew at least one voice-text speech company whose sales staff and company president, at every staff meeting, would urge all their staff to get on message boards and product reviews and talk up how much it helped their driving. Of course, they weren't supposed to *identify* themselves as employees. But frankly, after riding around with some people who text while driving, I will never get in their cars again. They're using their cars as their offices, and it is *dangerous* anywhere near them. Not for them, because their belly padding and their overpriced, leased manhood compensators are relatively safe from the accidents. But for anyone on the road near them, with lighter cars or bikes or pets or kids endangered by these idiots and the cars they ignore and force to swerve, it's a lot more dangerous.

They're worse than families with kids in the car screaming, because they think it's *normal* to drive that distracted.

What about sexting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43530601)

How about hands-free or voice-activated sexting?

Regulate us to safety, DC, you're our only hope! (2)

cogeek (2425448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530629)

All they need to do is pass a law prohibiting any sort of distraction in the vehicle. Sunlight, fog, rain, snow, children, radios, cell phones, pagers, books, newspapers, makeup, bad days at work, bad days at home, sun visors, allergies, bodily functions, passengers, etc. etc. Once all the distractions are outlawed, there will never be another accident on the road ever again, proving that the government can indeed regulate us to safety! -------- There really needs to be a "sarcasm" font....

Survey schmuervey (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530671)

She said drivers said they felt safer when using voice-activated texting than when entering messages on a keyboard.

What did cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers think?

The surviving ones, I mean.

Re:Survey schmuervey (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530867)

You mean the cyclist travelling at half the speed of traffic who swerved suddenly into the path of a car to avoid a sewer grate, or the pedestrian with the ear buds in who stepped into moving traffic away from the crosswalk? I hate distracted drivers, too, but making any sudden move into oncoming traffic without warning is a bad idea even if the driver of a modern 3000lb vehicle with a 100ft stopping distance IS paying attention.

Quite seriously .. why hands-free txt at all? (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530705)

Why not just phone? if they're not there, leave a message. I must be missing something...

they felt safer when using voice-activated texting (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530723)

In other news Seat belts and airbags made users feel safer and drive recklessly. Lets ban seat belts and airbags!

phone + vehicle = no (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530757)

Voice, bluetooth, text, handheld, hendsfree, VoiceToText.....screw you.

As someone who is waiting on a (too small) settlement check for my destroyed vehicle, all I can say is put the fucking phone away and drive the damn car.
Texting teen blows a red light at 60, and I'm lucky the only thing destroyed was my vehicle. I am still vertical and breathing.

Hanging upside down from the seatbelt, covered in broken glass was not the way I wanted to spend the afternoon.

Yay for hasty generalization! (2)

Chewbacon (797801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530807)

Right, they're looking at the screen and it defeats the purpose of voice activated hands free. I use Siri for quick texts while I'm driving. "Tell my wife I'm on my way." Siri says something about sending a text and "Ready to send it?" "Read it." Siri reads it back. "Send it." If Siri is having a deaf moment, I'll leave it alone until I get to a red light or I'll pull off the road if needed. Like condoms for birth control, voice activated hands free is only safer if done right.

Re:Yay for hasty generalization! (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531981)

I've tried using my Android phone for dictating texts. It works nice overall if I talk slowly, but it is prone to random glitches. Like the time when I said "each" and it typed out "eat sh**" (yes, it used stars for the last 2 letters).

Face it. (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about a year and a half ago | (#43530913)

We are very bad at multitasking.
The only question that is important, is this: is that text message really more important than the life of some kids or even your own.

As usual... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43531055)

Lots of comments here by people thinking they're the exceptional case, or are stupid enough to think that the reason people crash while talking on cell phones is because they have one hand off the wheel (and thus handsfree "removes the danger").

Common sense is unfortunately not a strong point among the human race.

Why would anybody think otherwise? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531083)

Why would anybody think it would be safer? The safety issue in texting is not the hands leaving the wheel (although that is problematic but a separate issue). The safety issue is driver distraction. If you are focused on what you are texting versus driving, then your inattention is what creating the safety issue.

Similar studies have shown that talking on the cell phone hands free is also only marginally safer than holding it in your hand while talking. It's simple math - at 70 mph if you are distracted for 1 sec, you have traveled 102 feet. Multiply that by multiple distractions and it's not hard to see how distracted driving is a serious problem.

Distraction Deniers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43531237)

A long as they deny their inability to safely multitask they can justify endangering the rest of us.

Is it really that hard to just drive?

Not news. Known since 1997 (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531313)

Look it up in the font of all wisdom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_and_driving_safety [wikipedia.org] (referenced studies).

People in general probably think handheld use is significantly more dangerous because legislators are not scientifically literate
and pass half-measures legislation.

Remember, common sense is neither common nor sensible. And 90% of conventional wisdom is wrong <= Including this.

well obviously (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531375)

The whole 'hands free' thing went through our company, and is still the safety policy - you may NOT talk on the phone while driving without a hands-free set.

This is, simply, asinine.

The point of distracted driving isn't (mostly) about what's in your HAND. It's about being...distracted, ie your mind on something other than driving.

Not to mention, I can't count the number of times I've been in a salesman's car, his phone rings, and the dumb sunuvabitch starts rifling through his console trying to find the hands-free thingy while racing along the highway at 70+ mph.

If only... (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531559)

From TFA:

For the study, Yager recruited people who were familiar with sending and receiving texts, and some of them already were using voice-to-text applications.

"One of the common comments was that they felt an inclination to look down at the screen to see if it heard them correctly, so that could be one possible explanation of why they were not looking at the roadway more frequently," Yager said.

If only there existed some way to send voice messages directly. That way you wouldn't be distracted by having to look down to see if the voice-to-text app parsed your speech correctly. You could send a recording of your spoken message directly to the recipient. We could call it, oh I dunno, "voicemail."

Just pull over? (1)

Cloud K (125581) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531565)

Seriously the chaos over this reminds me of in our town. Everyone is trying to squeeze onto the double-yellows (parking at the side of the road on areas where it's actually been marked as not permitted, which is typically a £60 fine if anyone ever checks) after 6pm on an evening when at that time it's well publicised that the car park a ~20 second walk away is FREE. Everyone is far too lazy and impatient. I get that things can be a bit of effort sometimes and that life can be a bit of a rush. But it's not a gargantuan effort. Either case takes like 20 seconds. Pull over and then text!

Re:Just pull over? (1)

Cloud K (125581) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531617)

Also, even with handsfree talking it's probably best to pull over. Watch anyone in charge of a supermarket trolley while talking on a phone. They can't even control that. Why are they in charge of a car?

I can see why.... (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year and a half ago | (#43531965)

... especially with my voice activated dialing. A usual exchange:

Me: "Call Beth Mobile."
Phone: "Call Meg?"
Me: "No"
Phone: "Call Karen?"
Me. "No!"
Phone: "Call Susan?"
Me: "NO! Who are these people? I don't even know a Meg, Karen, or Susan!"
Phone: "Try again."
Me (speaking slowly and over-enunciating): "C-A-L-L B-E-T-H M-O-B-I-L-E."
Phone: "Text Virginia?"
Me: "AAARRGGGHHH!!!!" (Picks up phone, switches to recently dialed numbers, and clicks my wife's entry.)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?