“Using voice-to-text messaging, included in systems such as Ford Motor Co.’s Sync and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Entune, is more distracting to drivers than making calls with handheld mobile phones, a study by AAA found,” Angela Greiling Keane reports for Bloomberg News.

“Texting a friend verbally while behind the wheel caused a ‘large’ amount of mental distraction compared with ‘moderate/significant’ for holding a phone conversation or talking with a passenger and ‘small’ when listening to music or an audio book, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in a report released today,” Keane reports. “Automakers have promoted voice-based messaging as a safer alternative to taking hands off the wheel to place a call and talk on a handheld phone. About 9 million infotainment systems will be shipped this year in cars sold worldwide, with that number projected to rise to more than 62 million by 2018, according to a March report by London-based ABI Research.”

Keane reports, “The study used drivers, mostly in their 20s and 30s, to do things including listening to a radio and talking on a handheld phone. Participants, all of whom had good driving records, did the tasks first in a lab, then in a driving simulator and finally in a residential area while driving. Researchers measured reaction time and brainwave activity with caps secured to drivers’ heads to see what was the most distracting.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: They need to test Siri Eyes Free, properly implemented, since that is the system a large number of drivers will be using. They also need to test drivers who’ve used the system for more than 15 minutes. Until then: Pfft. And, of course, Ford’s Sync, developed by Microsoft, is going to suck at hands free communication – it sucks at everything!

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