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600451-00011-1 Report Abstract

An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Voice-to-Text Programs at Reducing Incidences of Distracted Driving

Christine Yager, Texas A&M University, April 2013, 142 pp.

Text messaging is no longer limited to manual-entry. There are several mobile applications that aim to assist the driver in sending and receiving text messages by incorporating a voice-to-text component. To date, there has been no published research that evaluates the impact of voice-to-text mobile applications on driver behavior and safety. To address this issue, 43 participants drove an instrumented vehicle on a closed course for a baseline as well as three texting conditions: manual-entry, using Siri, and using Vlingo. Results indicate that driver reaction times were nearly two times slower than the baseline condition, no matter which texting method was used. Eye gazes to the forward roadway also significantly decreased compared to baseline, no matter which texting method was used. Additionally, it took drivers longer to complete the same texting task using the voice-to-text applications than it did when texting manually, though Siri produced the fewest errors. Self-assessment feedback revealed that participants felt less safe using any of the three texting methods compared to the baseline, but felt safer using either voice-to-text application than when manually texting. These results have immediate implications for improving our understanding of the dangers of texting while driving and the potential safety improvements of using voice-to-text options.

Keywords: Texting, Voice-to-Text, Speech-to-Text, Distracted Driving, Distraction, Mobile Device Use, Impairment

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