New study: voice-to-text app just as dangerous as actual texting - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

New study: voice-to-text app just as dangerous as actual texting

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

You've probably heard the stories about the dangers of texting and driving. So maybe you turn to using hands free texting instead, thinking it's safer.

But new research released Tuesday from the Texas Transportation Institute indicates using voice to text apps are just as bad.

Researchers observed more than 40 drivers aged 16-60 on a closed course as they texted while driving.

They found all drivers took twice as long to react when texting and response times were slower for BOTH methods.

Brooks Fuller of Charlotte, is a former texter-while-driving. He curbed the dangerous habit after a wake up call.

"I had my phone and a bunch of papers from the school where I teach fell onto my floorboard," he recalled. "Took my eye off the road to see the commotion that happened."

And just that fast, Fuller rear-ended someone. So he swore off all distractions in the car -- especially texting.

"Out of reach in the passenger seat, some other place that's not going to be immediately available to make it a little less desirable to pick up that phone," he said. 

Bonita Mack, another Charlotte driver, said she's surprised by the findings.

"I thought that would have been safe," she said. "But now that you're saying it's not, I'm gonna re-think that and not use it."

Re-thinking it given her 15 year old is already asking to take a Drivers Ed class. Mack says setting a good example is key.

"You can tell your kids to do one thing, but they're gonna actually do what they see you do," she said.

So take it from Fuller, that message can wait.

"I think all it takes is one near-miss or in some cases an incident to cause that for a lot of people," he said.

Researchers also said, drivers reported feeling safer using a voice-to-text app, despite have the same of level of reaction time as manual texting.

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