Siri is more distracting than talking on a mobile, study said

Ellen Wu
9 October, 2014
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Siri, driving, study, macworld australiaUsing Apple’s Siri while driving may be even more distracting than talking on a hand-held mobile, a recent study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says.

Doctor David Stayer and researchers from the University of Utah evaluated and ranked voice-activated interactions based on how distracted their test subjects were.

The hands-free eyes-free program Siri was rated as a “relatively high category 4 level of mental distraction” under a five category system.

Dr. Strayer’s team used instrumented test vehicles, heart-rate monitors and other equipment designed to measure reaction times.

Listening to the radio is a category one distraction, hand-held or hands-free cellphones are a category two, and using error-free speech-to-text systems were a category 3.

President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Peter Kissinger said voice-reliant technologies can “adversely affect road safety” and it’s impact is based on the “task or system the driver is using”.

“It’s clear that not all voice systems are created equal,” he said. “AAA is confident that it will be possible to make safer systems in the future.”

AAA’s research shows the safety of hand-free products can be improved through simplicity and accuracy of voice-activated devices.

The report accessed the voice-activation systems of several common cars and rated the programs on their level of safety.

But the study did not factor in Apple’s new CarPlay system which Apple’s says is less distracting than using Siri on your smartphone while driving.

You can read the full AAA report here.

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