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Unanticipated dangers of voice-activated car features

The idea is simple: take handheld mobile devices out of drivers’ hands so they can concentrate on driving, yet allow drivers to make calls, answer text messages, access navigations systems, and do basically anything else possible on a smart phone. Integrated, voice-activated safety features are billed to just that and more—say, control the air conditioning system, the radio, and so on.

The concept is sound; however, as indicated in a recent study, the practicality of these systems is not quite up to par yet. In fact, as reported in the New York Times, these systems can be downright frustrating for drivers and may distract drivers just as much as a handheld mobile device. The problem lies in the voice recognition software of these systems—they are not capable of accurately and consistently following a driver’s voice commands.

Often, when drivers attempt to access say, the navigation system, the software instead begins calling someone from the contacts list. The lack of consistent recognition frequently leads to greater frustration in the driver and therefore, greater distraction.

Until the voice recognition software advances to a point where it may accurately and consistently follow a driver’s commands, these safety systems are likely to present their own distractions to drivers. However, these systems are not likely to disappear from our cars, especially as more and more cities and states enact laws against the use of handheld mobile devices.

Critically, then, the attorneys at Ritter & Associates implore you to use caution when using these voice-activated safety systems and, perhaps more importantly, to be aware of distracted drivers on the road. If you have experienced an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact our offices at (619) 296-0123 to learn about your options for recourse.

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