The Edmond Sun

Local News

June 19, 2013

AAA: Hands-free texting more distracting than talking

EDMOND — If you own a newer car or smartphone you are likely aware that speech-to-text technology exists.

The 2013 Ford Focus ST has technology that will read incoming texts from a connected phone and translate commonly used abbreviations. You also can respond with a set of up to 15 preset outgoing messages.

These options may get your cell phone out of your hand while driving, but according to a new study, they are more distracting than old-fashioned texting while driving.

A study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that voice-activated in-car technologies can be even more dangerous than hands-free or handheld devices.

“Mental distractions are being built into cars,” said Edmond resident Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “As a leader in driver safety, AAA believes this is creating a looming public safety crisis.”

The study involved drivers ranging from 18-36 engaged in six common tasks from talking on the phone to responding to voice-activated email. Their brainwaves, eye movement, reaction time and other metrics were evaluated by researchers from the University of Utah.

The information was used to rate levels of mental distraction:

• Category 1 includes tasks with minimal risk, such as listening to the radio;

• Category 2 includes tasks with moderate risk. This includes talking on a cell-phone, either handheld or hands-free; and

• Category 3 includes tasks with extensive risk. This includes listening and responding to in-vehicle, voice-activated email features.

Garry Thomas, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, said any type of distraction when you’re behind the wheel can be deadly, as this study shows.

“We all think we can multi-task safely because we attempt it frequently in our jobs and at home, but driving is not an activity that can be combined with other tasks,” Thomas said. “Driving requires full cognitive, visual and manual skills.”

Thomas said his organization urges all drivers to turn off their cell phones and other electronic devices while driving.

“No text or call is worth risking your life and others’ lives,” Thomas said. “If you must make a call, we recommend pulling off the road and stopping in a safe spot, out of traffic.”

In Edmond, cell phone use is handled as a failure to devote full-time attention to driving offense.

AAA will continue legislative efforts in 2014, Mai said. During the most recent session, no texting-related bills were passed, he said.

AAA’s study comes on the heels of a similar study sponsored by the Southwest Region University Transportation Center and conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. It was the first study to compare voice-to-text and manual texting on a handheld device in an actual driving environment. The results were released earlier this year.

It compared the performance of 43 research participants who navigated a closed course without any use of cell phones, once using voice-to-text apps for iPhone and Android and once texting manually.

Researchers measured the time it took each driver to complete the tasks, and also noted how long it took for the drivers to respond to a light that came on at random intervals during the exercises. They found:

• In each case, drivers took about twice as long to react as they did when they weren’t texting. With slower reaction times, drivers are less able to take action in response to sudden roadway hazards, such as a swerving vehicle or a pedestrian in the street.

• The amount of time that drivers spent looking at the roadway ahead was significantly less when they were texting, no matter which texting method was used.

• For most tasks, manual texting required slightly less time than the voice-to-text method, but driver performance was roughly the same with both.

Christine Yager, a TTI associate transportation researcher who managed the study, said the findings offer new insight, but only a part of the knowledge that’s needed to improve roadway safety. | 341-2121, ext. 108

Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results