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Do U Txt Whl Drvng?

Published Dec 14th 2007, 5:05am by Patty Streeter in Featured Articles

Text_message A competition recently hosted by Nuance Communications, Inc. showed that voice commands reduce the risk of driver distractions caused by the use of mobile devices in cars. "The Amazing Race: Distracted Driving" competition took place at Conversations Mobile, a premier speech event for the mobile communications industry held in Boca Raton, Florida.

Contestants equipped with a traditional cell phone competed against a driver using Nuance speech solutions to conduct a number of mobile device-related tasks in a simulated driving environment. Speed was not the critical measurement in this race, but rather minimizing distraction and ensuring safety by allowing the driver to keep his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Drivers were tasked with finding a local business, sending a text message, and playing a specific MP3 music selection - several of the typical distractions plaguing drivers today. For each challenge, the speech-equipped driver quickly completed the task without a single crash, while the competitors using traditional cell phones crashed multiple times without ever completing the task.

Textwhiledriving To watch the Amazing Race at youtube, visit youtube.com.

"Today, a serious traffic-safety issue is 'DWT: Driving While Texting'," said Steve Chambers, president, mobile and consumer services division at Nuance. "Over a trillion messages were sent worldwide last year, and the number of text messages is expected to explode to two trillion in 2008. Increasingly, these messages are being sent by drivers who put themselves and others at risk by taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to manually enter text on their cell phone keypad. In fact, the number one killer of American teens on the road today isn't alcohol-related accidents; it's distracted driving with over 45 percent of teens reading or sending messages while driving. Nuance believes the safest option is for drivers to simply refrain from using a phone while driving, but for those who insist on using their devices, our competition showed that the hands-free, eyes-free option provided by speech is the next best alternative."

Moral of the story? DON'T TEXT WHILE DRIVING! Use hands-free and voice-recognition technology for your in-car communication needs.

By Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor


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