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Study Shows Voice-To-Text Is As Dangerous As Typing

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s illegal in Maryland to text on hand-held cell phones. Many drivers use their voice-to-text, thinking it’s a safer option but a new study shows it’s just as dangerous as typing.

Christie Ileto has more.

Drivers may think using their voice to text is safe behind the wheel, but a just released study shows it’s just as dangerous as typing a text.

“You think it would be better, but it’s surprising,” said Abby Dudensing.

“Oh, really? I didn’t know that,” said Mandy Bean.

It’s illegal to text on a hand-held phone while driving in Maryland. That’s why Mandy Bean says she thought using her voice to text was safer.

“Yeah, I do it all the time, actually,” Bean said. “Because I figure if I’m not texting and I’m talking to text, it works.”

The study done by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M compares voice-to-text to traditional texting. The results show that no matter which method used, it takes drivers twice as long to react than when they’re not distracted. Voice-to-text does not increase driver safety compared to manual texting.

“Anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving is a distraction,” said Buel Young, Maryland MVA. “Distracted driving is a hazard on the roadways.”

Studies show between 2007-2011 in Maryland, about 152,000 people were injured in distracted driving-related accidents; 1,100 were killed.

“Even when you’re talking to someone next to you in the car, your mind is not as concentrated on driving,” said Edward Brulinksi.

“I guess if I read it and I can see how that works, then yes, I can say I’ll definitely change my behavior,” Bean said.

It’s a wake-up call officials hope will put the brakes on texts sent behind the wheel.

After Oct. 1, talking and texting on a hand-held cell phone while driving will be a primary offense in Maryland.

Using a hand-held device to send a text while driving is banned in the District of Columbia and in 39 states, including Maryland.

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