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  • AAA Study Results Continue to State Siri Hands-Free is "Highly Distracting"


    The folks over at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, as part of an ongoing study on the consequences of using hands- and eyes-free systems while driving, rated Apple’s latest version of Siri voice control as “highly distracting.” It fell behind Google Now and behind certain OEM infotainment systems as well.

    All systems ranging from in-house designs developed by car manufacturers to those created by Apple, Google and Microsoft were found to cause potentially dangerous levels of distraction. The top three performers, which were the Chevy Equinox, Buick Lacrosse and Toyota 4Runner, were categorized as being “moderately distracting.”

    The researchers were evaluating various hands-free systems by quantifying cognitive impairments that were demonstrated when issuing voice commands to make calls or change music while driving. Rankings were assigned on an ascending five-point scale split into “mild, moderate, high and very high” distraction classifications. In this particular case, category 1 mental distractions equated to listening to music or an audio book, category 2 was equivalent to talking on the phone, while category 3 was similar to sending voice-activated texts. The larger impairments like spending mental effort on updating a social media account were classified as category 4 and category 5 was designed to overload a driver’s attention.

    Although all three of the tech-giant smartphone-based solutions were categorized as highly distractive, Google Now proved to be the least detrimental with a score of 3.0. Siri followed with a score of 3.4 while Cortana was on the verge of what was classified as “very high distraction” territory, scoring a 3.8. These numbers jumped when it came time to send voice-activated texts, all of which jumped to 3.3, 3.7 and 4.1 respectively.

    The CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Peter Kissinger, had the following to say regarding the matter:

    The lasting effects of mental distraction pose a hidden and pervasive danger that would likely come as a surprise to most drivers. The results indicate that motorists could miss stop signs, pedestrians and other vehicles while the mind is readjusting to the task of driving.
    Overall, the study ended up discovering that a driver can be mentally distracted for as long as 27 seconds after they perform a hands-free task – a number which is too high to be considered safe (or smart) when it comes to driving attentively. If you were to compare this in a real-world situation, a driver traveling at 25 mph would travel roughly the length of nearly three football fields before they regained full cognitive ability. When compared to the least distractive systems, the impairment lasted roughly 15 seconds after initiating a task.

    When it comes to Apple’s offering, which is Siri hands-free, AAA’s results remain largely the same from evaluations which were performed last year.

    Do any of you frequently use hands- and eyes-free systems? If so, what is your preferred platform? Share your thoughts below!

    Source: AAA (Newsroom)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AAA Study Results Continue to State Siri Hands-Free is "Highly Distracting" started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. edwilk55's Avatar
      edwilk55 -
      I can't figure out why Apple hasn't made leaps and bounds with Siri since partnering with IBM. Put Watson to good use, dang.
    1. WHUDS's Avatar
      WHUDS -
      They wont be satisfied till phones and devices are banned period, oh and looking at your speed and gauges too, forget the radio and gps..... its all distracting and they are just idiots, stop regulating everything! I agree with hands free and its as far as I go
    1. talkin73's Avatar
      talkin73 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WHUDS View Post
      They wont be satisfied till phones and devices are banned period, oh and looking at your speed and gauges too, forget the radio and gps..... its all distracting and they are just idiots, stop regulating everything! I agree with hands free and its as far as I go
      Not all things have the same distracting effect. Cell phone use beats out all others by a healthy margin.

      Cellphone use causes over 1 in 4 car accidents
    1. WHUDS's Avatar
      WHUDS -
      Quote Originally Posted by talkin73 View Post
      Not all things have the same distracting effect. Cell phone use beats out all others by a healthy margin.

      Cellphone use causes over 1 in 4 car accidents
      I bet its from email and texting, not talking hands free
    1. talkin73's Avatar
      talkin73 -
      Quote Originally Posted by WHUDS View Post
      I bet its from email and texting, not talking hands free
      Negative. Your suggestion is denounced near the very beginning of the article. I would like to be able to safely drive and talk but this is relatively convincing research that says this is simply not possible. There is plenty of their research that supports the assertions in this article about our ability (or, rather, lack thereof) to attend to multiple things at one time. This research is the most direct assessment I've seen of the issue of talking while driving, however. The bottom line is that we only have 100% of our attention. Each additional task you add will some portion of that 100%. Doing more than one thing at a time means that none of the tasks can ever get the full 100% of your attention. Some tasks are more distracting than others. Like talking on the phone. I don't like it either but this and other research are too consistent and convincing for a reasonable person to argue.
    1. WHUDS's Avatar
      WHUDS -
      Quote Originally Posted by talkin73 View Post
      Negative. Your suggestion is denounced near the very beginning of the article. I would like to be able to safely drive and talk but this is relatively convincing research that says this is simply not possible. There is plenty of their research that supports the assertions in this article about our ability (or, rather, lack thereof) to attend to multiple things at one time. This research is the most direct assessment I've seen of the issue of talking while driving, however. The bottom line is that we only have 100% of our attention. Each additional task you add will some portion of that 100%. Doing more than one thing at a time means that none of the tasks can ever get the full 100% of your attention. Some tasks are more distracting than others. Like talking on the phone. I don't like it either but this and other research are too consistent and convincing for a reasonable person to argue.
      I argue its just over zealous, of course being on the phone is distracting so is playing loud music and singing with it while driving and driving with one hand while the other is holding coffee or around your lover. A friend sitting next to you talking and you glance over to them while talking, the kids screaming in the back seat and fighting....... my point you missed is its over reaching to say phone conversations hands free are too dangerous, there are plenty of other activities that are probably worse yet we pick on phones because some people have this hostility towards those talking on a phone while driving, I'm not convinced its as dangerous as the idiot in Baltimore who about ran me off the road 5 years ago to yell at me to get off the phone......
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      I don't believe that it takes between 15-27 seconds to regain cognitive ability after performing a task. When I use Siri to send a text it takes me around 5-10 seconds to create/send the text, after that I'm 100% focused on driving again. Even while creating the text or talking on the phone I'm still 90% focused on the road which isn't hard to do. I doubt it takes 15-27 seconds for a majority of drivers out there, that's a long time to get focused on driving again. I'm not saying there aren't dumb drivers out there cause there are! Some people can't handle doing anything else in the car but driving without running someone off the road. But for most people I believe they can switch back to driving and be 100% a lot faster than what the article mentions.