Why Is Siri Endangering Drivers?

According to a study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri and other voice-texting applications might be unwittingly endangering drivers.

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Washington D.C. and 39 states in the U.S. have already banned the use text messaging while driving. About a quarter of those states have actually prohibited cellphone use in cars altogether. The reasoning behind the legislation is clear: cellphones distract drivers and unnecessarily put everyone on the road at an increased risk.

Texting is the sweetheart of the generation; 6.1 billion text messages fly around the U.S. every single day. As a result, app developers have designed a gazillion different ways to write up text messages, including swipe keyboards, multi-language keyboards, keyboards that prioritize certain letters, and even one that uses Morse code. Perhaps the method most well-known is Siri, which allows users to talk while it translates the speech into text.

The benefits of Siri to drivers are obvious, as users can simply dictate their text messages while keeping their eyes on the road. But the Texas Transportation Institutes study shined a light on the flaws in that logic…

The study tested drivers on a closed range, having them perform certain text messaging tasks using both traditional texting methods as well as voice-to-text, and it found that both were equally distracting. So, while many drivers might have thought Siri was making it safe to drive and text, the study’s findings showed that apps like Siri “do not increase driver safety compared to manual texting.”

Part of the problem might result from users who use the voice-texting but then check the message to see that the application understood what they said. (I know I don’t trust the apps on my phone to understand what I’ve said.) However, Christine Yager, who was in charge of the research, said that drivers felt safer using voice-to-text applications than typing with the keyboard.

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So, Siri and similar apps have apparently been endangering drivers who thought it they were safer for using them. There are many types of distractions for drivers, and cellphones prove time and time again to be one of the greatest distractions even as technology evolves.

Here’s how Apple did through the day:

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