Mobile device use has come under fire more and more in recent times, with numerous states outlawing talking on the phone without the use of a hands-free device. I've always contended that the action of holding a conversation is more dangerous than the act of holding the phone to your ear, but states apparently don't agree.
A new study finds that using a hands-free voice-to-text app is as distracting and dangerous as texting manually. The study showed that drivers who utilized hands-free texting apps didn't spend any less time looking at the screen. The study also found that drivers were just as distracted as users who manually input the text message.
This means that the act of composing the text message, not the act of physically inputting it, is what is the distracting part:
We did not find any differences between manual texting and the two voice-to-text apps that we tested in terms of driver response time and the amount of time looking at the forward roadway. The amount of time that drivers spent looking at the roadway ahead was significantly less when they were texting, no matter which texting method was used.
This means you should think twice before using that voice-to-text app as you are just as likely to have an accident. However, voice-to-text apps remain legal to use while manually inputting a text message has been outlawed in numerous states.