Distracted driving continues to be a problem to drivers across the nation. To many of us using iPhones and other Apple products, distractions often stem from the temptations associated with social media interactions, text messages, emails, and calls from loved ones or friends, but to some safety advocates, Siri happens to be a greater threat to the driver’s safety than all of these others items put together.
This might have a lot to do with the fact that, in October, the University of Utah sponsored a project in which researchers looked into the use of personal assistant apps in smartphones among drivers. According to the research, personal assistants like Siri are not safer than simply texting, emailing, or even calling while driving.
The research also found that the use of hands-free devices are not much safer either, debunking the common misconception that only handheld technologies cause drivers to become distracted while behind the wheel. When drivers interact with technology through voice commands, their mental activity becomes devoted to the dictating of the text, causing cognitive distractions, which are just as impairing as visual and manual distractions.
According to a recent piece published by the Wall Street Journal, hands-free technology can offer many positive and negative aspects. Apple’s response to the study carried out by researchers at the University of Utah was also included in the Wall Street Journal piece. According to the article, Apple’s latest Siri software comes with two new features that work with the vehicle’s native controls so that the driver does not have to pick the phone up or even look at it to use it. According to Apple, these two features help to keep the driver safe and away from potential distracted driving-related accidents.
Apple also stated that the features are tailored to only allow access to the phone owner while also becoming optimized while in use so that the feature will work well with the vehicle to promote a better and safer driving experience. Whether you agree with Apple or you believe the study carried out by the University of Utah researchers has a point, distraction of any kind behind the wheel should be avoided so personal injury accidents are prevented.
Companies like Apple have been working on developing features that would cut on the driver’s use of hands-free technology, perhaps then boosting car safety.
Meanwhile, researchers agree that voice commands are far more distracting than many have originally believed them to be.