Jeffrey E. Johnston

Is voice-command texting and driving safer?

With Georgia’s new ban on the handheld use of a smartphone in effect, many drivers are switching to hands-free options for navigation, texting and driving.

But are these methods really safer?

The flaws of voice-command texting

Many people hold the misconception that voice-command texting is safer. Yet, studies have found that the practice is actually just as dangerous as typing a text.

These result shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, as they back other research suggesting that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous too — whether hands-free or not.

Both activities take a driver’s attention away from the road. Another reason why voice-command texting may be as dangerous as texting is that reading incoming messages also takes a person’s eyes off of the road.

How Georgia’s ban handles texting

The new law specifically prohibits drivers from physically holding or supporting a wireless telecommunications device with any part of their body.

However, not all drivers realize that the ban also punishes drivers who reach out to touch or type on a smartphone that is placed in a mount (unless they are adjusting GPS navigation).

These bans leave drivers with two options to text:

  1. Don’t do it
  2. Use Siri (or another voice-command setting)

Increasing your likelihood to crash

The recent ban was enacted in an attempt to reduce distracted driving. Unfortunately, switching to hands-free smartphone use while behind the wheel is still a distraction that’s likely to lead to an accident.

In Georgia, if a judge decides that you are responsible for more than half of the blame for a crash, you won’t be eligible to receive compensation to cover injuries and other damages.

Make your resolution for 2019 to stay free of distractions while driving. And, if you are involved in an accident, make sure you have the proper legal counsel to help you secure coverage of these costs.

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