back to article Yelling at mobes while driving just as bad as texting

Using voice-to-text tech to send messages while driving is just as dangerous as regular texting, a new study has found. Drivers' response times doubled regardless of whether they were speaking or typing their messages, compared to when they weren't texting, the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University said. The …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should be shot

    Any damn fool using a mobe while driving should be shot, right after they crash.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: They should be shot

      Twice. Then beaten with a pipe.

      1. MrXavia
        Thumb Up

        Re: They should be shot

        once in each knee cap I assume! then ensure the pipe is placed where the sun dont shine along with the mobile!

    2. Marshalltown

      Re: They should be shot

      Goes for bicyclists and pedestrians too. Just saw two pedestrians texting while walkng today nearly in the soup. One wandered right into traffic and came within a foot and skid marks of wearing tread marks. Just froze and stared when the tires started to squeal. The other tripped on a curb after crossing the street and destroyed her phone, at least she appeared to be collecting pieces from the side walk. I've also seen a bicyclist take out a trash can while texting.

    3. Atonnis

      Re: They should be shot

      I think that circumstances should beget the punishment.

      Being sat in an unmoving traffic jam for an hour or two on the A3 or M25 on a hot summer's day and you'll find that reaching for your phone and quickly texting a message to the Mrs to say you'll be late is very low risk, and if they do it by voice they're also capable of looking around for potential hazards coming their way, nullifying said risk.

      Of course, I see enough people, usually young women (in my experience!), looking down into their laps whilst feverishly tapping away whilst coasting along in slow traffic - they're the ones who need their licenses removed. Dead-stop traffic on a motorway or multilane main road with no crossings is very different from slow-moving, or even traffic-light-stopped traffic - which should be punished just as harshly - that is driving through a village or town.

  2. andreas koch

    Re - They should be shot


    Any damn fool using a mobe while driving should be shot, right after they crash.


    You're a Merkin, no doubt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re - They should be shot

      "Twice. Then beaten with a pipe."

      Closely followed by a Brit apparently. Quite possibly Gene Hunt after he's won the lottery. Tool up lads. As a biker who's nearly been wiped out several times by hapless car drivers messing with their in-car gizmos, I'm all for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re - They should be shot

        Depends, are you a good cyclist? Or one of those idiots who keeps swerving in and out of traffic. Because I gotta say as a pedestrian, I hate those guys almost as much as I hate drivers.

        I mean sure drivers don't indicate half the time, but it's a big object in a straight line, you can predict roughly where they're going. When traffic comes to a halt and you go to cross, only to have a cyclsit swerve round the corner really makes you want to murder somebody.

        Likewise when you start crossing and they begin swerving side to side trying to avoid you... Don't, I've seen you coming, I'm crossing with the expectation you'll ride like a sane person in a relatively straight line, you swerving just makes me swerve and curse your name.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Re - They should be shot

          I assume that the rule still applies that cyclists and other road users on wheels must give way to pedestrians, both on the road and on the sidewalk... perhaps I've misunderstood? :-) I cycle fairly briskly but not furiously, and I don't sneak past stationary traffic, either, unless there's a lane provided. Cyclists in London are most likely to be wiped out by a lorry turning, apparently, and I suspect it's because they're doing that. The other optional cycle accessory that I consider essential (besides a bell, which is compulsory) is a gently convex rear view mirror, which lets me see whether I've got the road to myself, or whether there's traffic behind that I can accommodate, if I feel like being considerate - which I usually do - by steering close to the gutter - or alternatively by blasting through a bottleneck obstruction at my best speed and -then- steering out of their way. It's also pretty good for changing lanes. But I can't get on with a flat mirror; above 10 miles per hour, it shakes too much to see anything.

          Anyway, phones... yes, on this evidence, drivers and riders had better sit in grim silence throughout their journey, or have the radio on. It isn't fun, but having an accident isn't fun, either.

  3. IglooDude

    I have a few friends that don't seem to get the irony (or is it just hypocrisy?) when they call me while they're driving their cars that have "watch out for bikers" stickers plastered on them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll 'watch out for bikers' the moment they start watching out for me. Round here a couple of the roads I regularly use are regarded as test tracks by bikers out from Manchester, and I've lost count of the number of times I've met some moron coming round a blind corner on my side of the road.

      Like text-drivers and phone-drivers, I really don't mind if they want to kill themselves, but if they take me out as well I'll be extremely peeved ...

  4. tfewster

    If only...

    .. someone could create an app for these mobes that transmitted the speech directly to a receiving mobe that then output it in an audio format, so the meatware on the far end could interpret it and query any misspellings, rather than a speech-to-text encoder that means the driver has to look at the screen. You could call it a far-speaker or "tele-phonic" app.

    Yes, I'm aware that even hands-free (tele-phonic) communication is distracting to the driver, but at least they can keep their eyes on the road.

    1. riparian zone
      Thumb Up

      Re: If only...

      Interesting this. My dream application is for people with low vision or no typing ability to send a recorded message instead. Job done. Accessibility technology rules, but only when people with 'abilities' get stupid and hurt each other. Which is most of the time.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: If only...

      What? you mean actually speak to people????

      Like they were in the car with you?

      Never going to happen... the youth of today have forgotten how to talk to each other...

      personally I have my phone linked up to my car, and talking to someone is no more distracting than listening to the radio or talking with a passenger.. actually I think it is less distracting talking with someone on the phone than a passenger...

    3. andy_s_83

      Re: If only...

      I think you've just described the "telephone"... :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward



        Schoolboy: Miss, if you don't mind me asking, how did you meet your fiancé?

        Teacher: Well, we met in a bar on a night out. We had a conversation and realised we had a lot in common.

        All pupils: What? YOU ACTUALLY TALK TO PEOPLE?

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: If only...

        I think you've just described the "telephone"... :-)

        I think you've just explained the joke.

  5. Someone Else Silver badge

    I need new glasses

    I read the title as "Yelling at mopes while driving just as bad as texting." Which may be true, but for different reasons.

  6. Daedalus

    It's only a matter of time...

    ...before somebody proves what we've suspected all along: that just talking to somebody else, whether they are in the car with you or not, is fatally distracting. It's just that nobody sees having a passenger and talking to them as unusual.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      Ban passengers!

      But seriously, if you can't hold a conversation with a passenger and pay attention to the road ahead, then really you should not have passed your test yet...

    2. mr.K
      Paris Hilton

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      It is very different to talk to somebody that is there, and to talk to somebody that is elsewhere. It is of course worth looking into by a controlled study like this, and yes talking to passengers are distracting. However it should be less than using a mobile phone. The reason for this is that a passenger is there with you. If a particularly difficult situation arise in the traffic you stop talking and it is quite clear for anybody else there with you that you are preoccupied. Even passengers, at least those that know how to drive, will shut up because they know you are not listening. The counter argument to this is of course that you can do the same on a mobile phone, but the fact of the matter is that you don't, or if you do, you have to process it the decision first. Also in general talking in the telephone is a much more demanding task for the brain that talking to somebody present. Exactly why I do not know, but probably something to do with you spending a lot of time visualizing them and their situation.

      I would very much like to see the gender differences in this study. Paris because she has a gender and she is distracting.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      "talking to somebody else, whether they are in the car with you or not, is fatally distracting."

      Fatally distracting? If that was true, it would be carnage out on the roads and cars would have been banned within a few years of their invention. If that's how you feel about it, I hope that either you are not a driver or that you always drive alone with the radio permanently disconnected.

      Texting while driving is already illegal. Using voice activated text is almost certainly distracting. It seems that smartphone designers with all that processing power and RAM to work with have decided that voice recognition is best handled by having the damned phone keep asking you questions then handing off the speech recognition to some remote "cloudy" server. Even my crappy old Nokia from years ago was capable of doing speech to text for voice dialling simply by pressing a button on the headset cable and speaking the name, Now, with a Galaxy, it's a right palaver so I don't bother.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Texting while driving is already illegal."

        Driving without due care and attention was already illegal, and remains so for good reason.

        It does not matter how the driver is distracted; the fundamental requirement is to pay attention to the road at all times.

  7. Simon Barnes


    I don't agree talking to a person in the car is the same as over the phone, as someone present is more clearly aware of the context and able to see what's going on so driving actions are seamlessly accepted interruptions, whereas the person on the other end of the phone has no idea and won't pause when appropriate...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: context

      Then hang up the phone if they keep jabbering on...

      I've noticed when I am in the car and I pause when on a call to someone, they pause too.....

    2. Mr_Blister

      Re: context

      You have not factored women into this because they refuse to stop talking at you, even when you repeatedly demand they STFU! So like a phone conversation, women in the car also do not stop or pause when appropriate. Cars are not really the best place to have a conversation, because driving these days is too demanding and at times hair raising or complicated due to other drivers and pedestrians actions.

      1. Marshalltown
        Thumb Down


        I've been in social trouble because I don't generally talk while driving - not even to passngers. Talkers may get peeved if they think that not killing anyone is more important than whatever they're most excited about at the moment.

    3. Corinne

      Re: context

      "as someone present is more clearly aware of the context and able to see what's going on so driving actions are seamlessly accepted interruptions,"

      Ha ha ha. My ex wasn't a driver himself, and he was so unaware of what was going on around him in the car that he would spill coffee if we went round a tight roundabout because he hadn't noticed we were about to take a sharpish left turn followed by a right. A mate of mine however who used to drive but hasn't for many years is aware enough so she can hear any distraction in my voice if I'm talking on the phone to her while driving. So it's more down to the person you are talking to rather than whether they are physically present.

      Oh and kids in the back seat are rarely aware of what's going on and can be incredibly distracting, more so IMO than talking on the mobile (assuming hands free).

  8. Mr Young
    Thumb Up

    Getting worse by the second?

    I suggest a new icon - meh with 2 hands instead of one?

  9. "Martin"

    1. VERY OLD problem

    Some 40 years ago when mobiles and GSM was launched Tomorrows World reported on it : GSM compresses the speech to save bandwidth, the decompression is done subconsciously by your brain. And yes, the people driving simulators in the TV studio were distracted.

    2. OLD solution.

    Virgin had a tariff with FREE voicemail. With hands free equipment, you can easily dictate and send FREE voicemail to any Virgin mobile, 5 min long if you like (never found a limit..) Far easier then text.

    And you can just as easily listen to any incoming message at your convenience.

    IMHO reasonably safe, if need be you can concentrate on driving, listen later to the message again or dictate again when its safe.

    Alas Virgin ended that tariff.

    3. Current solution:

    Orange copied Virgin's tariff. I and my family have been using it for 10 YEARS !

    OK, they stop selling it years ago, but you could buy a SIM from someone, transfer it, voila FREE voicemail.

    OH, HOLD ON. Just got a letter from Orange:

    As of 1st May, call charges going up 500% !!!, voicemail will cost 25p send and receive !

    They wrote some garbage about 'aligning tariffs, but if fact they want to KILL it stone dead !

    Bye Orange !

    4. Future solution ?

    I recon ORANGE bosses are totally EE ! They should realise that, as above, that sending voicemail could be a HUGE selling point to DRIVERS. I believe, that, same as texts, voicemail costs them NOTHING and so should be still be free. Was for 10 years, why not.

    Perhaps some THINKING mobile provider might pick up this opportunity.

    Are you there Giff Gaff ?



    1. Vic

      > the decompression is done subconsciously by your brain.

      It isn't...


  10. Great Bu

    Still attacking the problem from the wrong end....

    We need to stop trying to remove all distractions form cars and start removing people from cars who can't demonstrate the ability to drive safely despite all the available distractions being present.

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