A study conducted at Texas A&M University has found that driver response times are significantly delayed when voicing messages aloud to your phone - troublesome news for the likes of Apple and its voice command system, Siri.

It is the first study to compare traditional texting with voice-to-text on a handheld device during driving.

Christine Yager, the woman who headed the study, told Reuters: “In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting. Eye contact to the roadway also decreased, no matter which texting method was used.”

The research revolved around 43 participants, all of whom, were made to drive along a test track without using any electronic devices. They were then made to take the same route, whilst texting and then again whilst using voice-to-text.

Yager revealed that voice-to-text actually took longer than ordinary texting, due to the need to correct errors during transcription.

Research carried out by The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association found that 6.1 billion text messages per day were sent in the United States in 2012 alone. Data collected from AAA, the national driver’s association, revealed that 35 per cent of drivers admitted to reading a text or email while driving, whilst 26 per cent admitted to typing a message.

Yager voiced concerns that drivers actually feel safer whilst using the voice-to-text method of communicating whilst driving, even though driving performance is equally hindered. The worry is, that this may lead to a false belief that texting while using spoke commands is safe, when this isn’t the case.

Last year, a survey carried out by ingenie, a driving insurance company for 17-25 year olds, asked 1,000 customers how they use their phone whilst driving. 17 per cent admitted to playing Angry Birds behind the wheel.

This doesn’t bode well for Volkswagen; the German car giant has just unveiled the iBeetle, which is based around the idea of being able to manipulate your car through voice commands issued to the iPhone.

See also:

Apple stores your Siri queries for up to two years

Four ways to get things done with Siri

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