Siri Not the Best Passenger

We all know it’s unwise (not to mention dangerous and likely illegal, depending on where you are) to use your phone while driving. But until recently, motorists and experts alike operated under the blanket assumption that hands-free devices eluded many of the dangers posed by using a smartphone while driving.

In a study released this week, the non-profit AAA Road Foundation for Traffic Safety debunked this assumption entirely. Each of the three experiments that comprised the study (driving on residential streets, not driving, driving in a simulator) demonstrated the degrees of distraction caused by various tasks of drivers using hands-free systems, with Apple’s Siri system resulting in the highest levels of mental distraction.

Siri was found to have the highest level of mental workload for drivers, due to its low intuitiveness, high complexity, lack of consistency and inflexible voice commands. As such, it produced the highest level of distraction, in two cases even causing an accident.

Apple suggests its new in-dash system, CarPlay, will be a safer and more effective way to use a phone while driving, however studies suggest in-dash systems still require a cognitive workload that detracts from the drivers’ concentration, significantly impairing their driving ability and adversely affecting road safety.

To read more on the study or see its result, visit: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/07/siri-driving-distraction/