Distracted driving has always been a problem in the United States even before cars were allowed to connect with your phone and social media accounts. Technically, even thinking about something other than the road while operating a motor vehicle is considered a distraction. However, could the implementation of voice recognition technology within a car cut down on the instances of negligent driving due to driver distraction?
How Voice Recognition Could Help Drivers
The ability to use your voice to operate a radio, initiate a phone call or even pick up your phone when it rings could help you focus more on the road. Instead of fumbling with a knob or searching for the button on your steering wheel to answer the call, you can simply tell the car to change the station or answer the phone. As these commands are easy to remember, you won’t take your eyes off the road or otherwise have to think about anything other than the traffic conditions to perform them.
How Voice Recognition Could Harm Drivers
Even drivers who have hands-free devices aren’t any safer than those who hold onto their phones while having a conversation. This is because your brain is forced to devote some or all of your attention to the call. As your brain can only effectively focus on one thing at a time, you can still get into a crash or otherwise act in a negligent manner if you decide to talk and drive at the same time. The same is true if you text and drive regardless of whether you physically send a text message or use a speech recognition program.
The System May Not Be Foolproof
Another issue to consider is what may happen if the voice recognition programs don’t work or experience a delayed reaction. For instance, what would you do if you told the car to access a playlist on your phone and didn’t do it? There is a chance that you would reach for your phone and access that playlist manually. You also run the risk of rejecting a phone call or calling a wrong number, which could again cause you to reach for your phone or otherwise reach for a button to fix the issue on your own.
Other People Could Use the System While You Are Driving
If a passenger constantly gives commands to your car to change the station or update your social media message, that in itself could be a distraction. Instead of focusing on the road, you may be worrying about how that social media update sounds to your crush or to your boss who thinks you are home sick. That may result in an attempt to manually change your status with your phone while you are driving or take some other action that takes your focus off of the road where it belongs.
You May Feel Tempted to Use Your Entertainment Technology More
When you only have to use your voice to send a text or start a call, you might do so more often. If you can use your phone with your voice, you may be more apt to send an email before work or otherwise check your messages. In that sense, voice recognition technology could increase the chances of distracted driving on the roadways.
Voice recognition has a variety of useful applications where it makes life easier. However, it should not be relied upon in a vehicle. Doing so could increase the chances of an accident or at the very least tempt you to do something other than focus on the road conditions and other drivers on the highway.