A new study has found that using voice commands for sending text messages and emails while driving is actually more distracting than safe. The voice commands for text messages were marketed earlier as a safe alternative for drivers. In recent times, car makers were trying to excite new-car buyers, younger generations in particular, with dashboard infotainment system.

Don't be stupid

The infotainment system allows drivers to use voice commands do things like turning on the windshield wipers, posting Facebook messages and even ordering a pizza. The idea behind this was that hands-free devices are safer, as they allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and to focus better.

However, the researchers have found that talking on a hands-free phone is not much safer for drivers than talking on a hand-held phone and using hands-free devices in order to translate speech into text is the most distracting thing. The speech-to-text system enables drivers to send, scroll or delete mails and text messages, which requires higher level of concentration than other possibly distracting activities, such as talking on the phone or to a fellow passenger.

Under these circumstances, when higher level of concentration is needed, the driver is likely to develop what the researchers have called a ‘tunnel vision’ or ‘inattention blindness’.