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Cortana most distracting mobile assistant to drivers, study says

by Todd Haselton | October 22, 2015October 22, 2015 12:00 pm PDT

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Do you use Cortana, Siri or Google Now while driving? You might think they’re OK, and voice controls may be safer than taking your eyes off of the road to send a text or play music, but they’re still very distracting. A new study from AAA ranked voice activated car systems, and also included mobile voice assistants.

AAA found that Google Now was the least distracting of the three mobile assistants, though it was still ranked a “high distraction” with a score of 3.0 on a 5.0 scale of how distracting each system is. Apple Siri was more distracting, with a score of 3.4, and Cortana was the worst offender of the three with a score of 3.8.

All of the assistants fell in the “high distraction category,” however, and the scores increased as AAA moved from commands to voice-activated texts. Among cars, the Chevy Equinox had the least distracting system, while the Mazda 6 was ranked worst.

“The massive increase in voice-activated technologies in cars and phones represents a growing safety problem for drivers, AAA president and CEO Marshall Doney said. “We are concerned that these new systems may invite driver distraction, even as overwhelming scientific evidence concludes that hands-free is not risk free.”

AAA found that distractions from the voice assistants could last as long as 27 seconds after the task was completed. The least distracting systems “had fewer errors, required less time on task and were relatively easy to use,” AAA said.

Lesson learned: next time you get behind the wheel, don’t assume you’re being safe by using Siri, Google Now or Cortana.

AAA

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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