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Speech-to-text systems could be risky, studies show

Texting and driving gets a lot of press for being a major distraction, leading to numerous accidents. Some have pointed to speech-to-text systems as a solution, making it so that the driver does not have to look down and type.

However, studies have found that these systems still contain a high level of risk. The cognitive distraction really isn't that much better than actually texting. One study tested a handful of distractions -- including talking to passengers and listening to the radio -- and found that using a talk-to-text program was one of the most dangerous things a driver could do.

Not only that, but researchers warned that their study was conservative and the problem could really be worse.

Their speech-to-text program was a professional grade system that did not make mistakes. The systems offered on your standard smartphone simply don't live up to that standard. Words are captured and written incorrectly and messages are garbled. This means that drivers can get very distracted and frustrated trying to get the text message to say what they're really attempting to write. They may have to do multiple takes or extensively edit the message, meaning it's not much different from typing it out in the first place.

The study made it clear that the only real way to avoid texting and driving risks is to stay off the phone completely. Even so, many drivers will take the risk and try to read or send messages behind the wheel. They continue to do so despite changing laws and accident statistics. If you're hit and injured, be sure you know your legal rights.

Source: Fox Business, "Pay Attention! 6 Causes of Distracted Driving," Chris Kissell, accessed Nov. 02, 2017

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