Virtual assistants like Siri are impairing drivers’ ability to focus on the road, according to a new AAA study.
AAA (formerly the American Automobile Association) had drivers complete tasks like updating social media, adjusting appointments, and sending text messages in a number of different settings.
By measuring cognitive workload in a variety of situations, AAA determined that using voice commands with Siri was more distracting than navigating complex and simple car menus, as well as simply driving.
AAA didn’t compare Siri’s level of distraction to other virtual assistants like Windows’ Cortana or Google Now.
AAA also didn’t factor in Apple’s new CarPlay system, which the company says is less distracting than using Siri on your smartphone while driving.
The study’s conclusion is seemingly self-evident. Using voice commands with a virtual assistant is more distracting than pressing a button on a display menu or just driving a car:
We established that there are significant impairments to driving that stem from the diversion of attention from the task of operating a motor vehicle. The data suggest that voice-based interactions in the vehicle
may have unintended consequences that adversely affect traffic safety.
AAA used an iPhone 5 running iOS 7 for their experiments, so let’s hope Apple has made Siri easier to use while driving in iOS 8.
We first saw this story on MacRumors.