Voice-based vehicle systems focus of new cognitive distraction study

Car driving fast in tunnelMany new automobiles come equipped with voice-based technology, which allows drivers to control certain functions of their vehicle with the sound of their voice. This technology was originally designed to minimize the amount of distraction a driver experiences when carrying out manual, visual and cognitive tasks. Yet, a new study performed by AAA has found that these voice-activated devices continue to act as a driver distraction. A car accident lawyer in Illinois knows that these distractions can endanger the lives of innocent motorists.

A look at the study

The cognitive distraction study conducted by AAA studied the effects of voice commands on the mental workload of drivers. The study used six different vehicles, five equipped with 2013 voice technology and one with 2012 voice technology. Subjects were asked to perform a series of tasks, including dialing a 10 digit phone number, changing the radio station, calling a contact and playing a CD, using the voice-based technology while driving. Researchers measured the subjects’ reaction time, heart rate and subjective assessments regarding the tasks.

The results

Surprisingly, researchers found significant differences between each of the voice-activated devices. All of the devices that were tested displayed more errors when working with music-related tasks, such as changing the radio station or playing a CD. The drivers in the study also experienced an increased level of distraction as they were exposed to more device errors.

The study revealed that voice tasks were more distracting than having a conversation or listening to the radio. Researchers believe that if the voice-based systems were perfected to reduce the frequency of errors, it would further minimize driver distraction as well as the likelihood of injury.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving car accidents resulted in 3,328 deaths and 421,000 injuries nationwide in 2012, according to Distraction.gov. Many states have banned drivers from talking or texting on hand-held cellular devices in order to limit the number of auto accidents that are caused by distracted drivers. Yet, cognitive distraction from voice-activated devices and hands free cellphones still creates a serious hazard to drivers, a fact known by a car accident lawyer in Illinois. Cognitive distraction occurs when motorists remove their focus off of the road ahead.

Americans have busy lives, and for some, it is hard to put things on hold while behind the wheel of a vehicle. This may be the only way that drivers can stay safe on the road and keep others safe as well. A car accident lawyer in Illinois may be prepared to help those who have been involved in a distracted driving auto accident.