You’ve been focusing on reducing the number of distracted drivers, so aren’t the new phones and vehicles with voice recognition software eliminating the problem?
The simple answer is: no! There was a landmark study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah this past year and the media in every state and many national magazines broadcast the results of the study last month. With the popularity of the Apple’s iPhone “Siri” promoting hands-free talking, the study determined that the Siri was one of the most dangerous voice assistants. (Participants in this study also expressed disapproval of Siri’s “sarcasm and wit.”)
The research team used a ranking system to measure the heart rate, response times and brain activities of 45 drivers. Drivers were asked to use hands-free commands while driving in simulators and test vehicles on residential streets. Their rating system was based on five categories that included using hands-free commands to compose texts or emails, listening to texts or emails, updating calendar appointments, and using social media. They determined the lower the accuracy and reliability of voice recognition software, the higher the level of distraction. They also evaluated the two most common uses of voice-based interactions to adjust the radio station and dial a phone number.
The study compared the on-board voice recognition technology among six popular vehicle manufacturers: Toyota, Hyundai, Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet and Mercedes. Toyota’s Entune technology system (pictured above) received the lowest rating for distraction! The graph below shows Toyota received a ranking of 1.7, far less than the technology systems in the other manufacturers’ vehicles and the only one falling into the low distraction category.
According to AAA, three out of four drivers believe that using hands-free technology is safe to use. However, it actually increases mental distractions as proven by this study. While Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion has worked hard to promote “Take the Pledge” on our Facebook page to not drive while distracted, we caution you that some of the hand-free technology also reduces your ability to focus and creates a distraction. We are pleased and proud; however, that Toyota’s Entune technology is the safest according to the AAA study.
If you are not sure how to use the technology effectively and safely and are a Jaffarian customer, we invite you to our “How Do I…” sessions in our showroom to learn more about this technology. We offer these hours every week on Tuesdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and Thursdays 5-7 p.m. to answer your questions. (If you haven’t figured out how to set your clock back this past weekend, come in and we’ll show you how!)
While the hands-free technology and on-board voice recognition command system are safer than using hand-held cell phones, please know how to use and when to use such technology so that it does not impair your ability to concentrate. Technology is a wonderful thing, but trying to figure it out while driving is dangerous.
Drive safely and stay focused on the road!