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Utah researcher: Car voice commands more distracting than mobile phones

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And a separate AAA study indicates that half of Americans believe that built-in Web-based systems carry zero risk.

Such assumptions regarding driver safety are, according to Strayer’s research, highly dangerous.

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"Just because a technology makes it hands free doesn’t make it safe," he said. "They may take your eyes off the road or your mind off the road sufficiently that you’re an impaired driver."

The Automobile Alliance, a group representing major automakers like Ford and Chevrolet, issued a statement Tuesday taking issue with Strayer’s research, saying it is "misleading" to suggest that hand-held and hand-free technology are equally distracting.

"The Alliance urges all drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, and integrated hands-free systems can help drivers do so," the statement read.

Strayer said more study is needed and that his team is engaged in the second phase that will look more closely at different types of voice-command systems. He expects to release that data in early 2014.


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