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I said they were quickly-improving. That doesn't mean they are any good now, or even soon in the future. It's usually really easy to improve on epic crap. When things start to get good is when it starts to take a long time to get them to excellent.
Besides, I said "might".
Basically, the ones we have today are NOT up to snuff by the measures we're discussing here.
My own experience with a Droid X phone is that the voice commands work very well, but not perfectly, and I have to put a lot of effort into checking to see that I've been correctly understood.
Research saying this stuff has been around for years now, yet municipalities still pass headset-only rules. Leaving me baffled.
I agree that making and answering calls is probably the worst bit, but the quickly improving interfaces--particularly voice activated ones--might be able to largely negate that in the future.
AAA sponsored research at the Univ of Utah that explored the effects of splitting one's attention between the tasks of driving and something else, like listening to the radio, chatting on a cell phone, or solving arithmetic problems while driving. Spark pointed to the research here: www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/06/12/
0949902/hands-free-gadgets-in-car-doR>nt-mean-driving-is-risk-free Full paper at this link: https://www.aaafoundation.org/sites/
A couple of surprises: 1) hands free devices did not reduce the cognitive load of having a conversation compared with holding the phone and talking, and 2) having a conversation with a passenger sitting next to you was similarly distracting.
A non-surprise (for me) was that using a voice activated interface to manage text and email messaging while driving was more distracting than phone calls.
The research was valuable in proposing some tools and mesasures that researchers could use to make studies comparable. Unfortunately the research did not fully capture the tasks of making and receiving calls well (it skipped the steps to initiate or answer a call), and these might be the most distracting times involved in using a phone in a car.
This research does fly in the face of most received advice, namely: using your cell phone while driving is a bad idea, but hands-free systems are better; and using a phone is more distracting than talking with a passenger.
Bottom line? Probably best to shut the phone off and listen to the radio.
Edited by: DOUGDC at: 6/15/2013 (22:25)