The Washington Post:
Makers of cars and mobile electronics are pushing a tempting vision of the future, one in which you can stay fully connected while driving. In the name of safety, they provide hands-free wireless setups for your cellphone, so you can talk with both hands on the wheel. The latest additions are voice-to-text systems that let drivers send and receive texts and e-mails without looking at a screen. Some high-end cars even have touch screens with interfaces for finding restaurants, reserving tables and buying movie tickets while on the road.
The study, conducted by University of Utah psychologist David Strayer and sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, compared driver response in different situations. Listening to the radio or audiobooks was judged mildly distracting. Talking on a hand-held or hands-free phone or to a passenger was more distracting, with hand-held conversations the worst of these. But voice-
activated systems to send and receive texts and e-mail were the worst kind of distraction.
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