The Low Down on Distracted Driving

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As technology continues to advance, more areas of our everyday lives are affected. Apple Inc.’s Siri’s voice command made waves for other companies to pursue voice command technology. Today many of the top automakers are incorporating the Siri voice command system in their model lineups; Toyota has their EnTune system, Chevrolet has MyLink and Ford has Sync. However, this technology may be just as mentally taxing and distracting as the buttons and knobs they are intended to replace.

Recently the AAA Foundation for Traffic and Safety commissioned a series of experiments to be conducted by researchers at the University of Utah. These experiments were designed to test subjects in a driving simulator while using Siri to send text messages, modify their calendar and post updates to Facebook.

Toyota Technology DrivingThe results may surprise you. The subjects scored 4 points on a 5-point scale used to gauge mental strain while using Siri. As can be expected, Siri use would be a heavier workload than simply changing the radio station or talking on a handheld cell phone. During the experiments, three virtual crashes occurred, two of them while the driver was engaged with Siri.

Have you ever heard of ‘inattentional blindness?’

You may not have ever heard of the term, but it is a fairly common experience. O
ne minute you’re driving along, doing everything right, then POW! Out of nowhere you rear-end the vehicle in front of you that has suddenly stopped. David Strayer, the University of Utah psychology professor who led the research witnessed this same phenomenon while watching the footage from one of the crashes and described it as a textbook case of ‘Inattentional blindness.’ “Were looking out the windshield, her hands were on the steering wheel, but she was taken aback completely by that vehicle,” he said.

“The push to voice-based technology acknowledges that people need to keep their eyes on the road,” Strayer said in an interview. “Our research suggests that’s not enough. You need to be paying attention to what you’re looking at.”

Toyota Voice Command TechnologyThe final results

Out of all the tests conducted across different brands, Toyota’s Entune scored the best with a result of 1.7 on the same 5–point scale used to gauge the mental strain of the driver. Chevrolet MyLink scored the worst with a score of 3.7 out of 5. Michael Green, spokesman for the AAA Foundation, had only the highest praises for the EnTune system and urges other automakers to follow Toyota’s lead.

Moral of the story

It is important to remember that the voice command technology is still in its infancy and that what matters most is to always stay vigilant of the world around you. However, if you’re looking to get a new car and voice command is on your must-have list, it is best to stick with Toyota. Dick Poe Toyota has a great selection of new Toyotas with the EnTune system, as well as used cars, trucks and SUVs for you to choose from. We are conveniently located at 6330 Montana Ave in El Paso, TX and would be happy to help you find the perfect Toyota that fits your lifestyle. Make sure to LIKE US on Facebook and FOLLOW US on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest happenings at our store and in the automotive industry!

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