Siri Isn’t So Safe

Voice controls have long been thought of as the safe alternative to using phones while driving.  While they are successful in keeping eyes on the roads and hands on the wheels, it turns out they’re still quite distracting. In a new study, AAA reports that voice-activated, hands-free systems are still distracting due to being prone to errors and increasing cognitive loads. The worst offender in this study is Apple’s assistant Siri.

The AAA used a scale of 1 to 4 to rate distraction levels. The best voice control system was Toyota’s Entune, which received a score of a 1.7, although the system has very limited functionality. Hyundai’s BlueLink received 2.2, Chrysler’s Uconnect 2.7, MyFord Touch 3.0, Mercedes’ Comand 3.1 and Chevy’s MyLink 3.7. Siri was far behind the pack with a 4.15.

Siri was found to be the most complex and have the lowest level of intuitiveness. When using Siri, the study participants had many mistakes, including calling the wrong person. Some of the subjects even reported being frustrated with Siri’s occasional sarcasm. However, AAA did not test Siri’s competitors Google Now or Microsoft’s Cortana.

While this study proves that voice-controlled systems are still not safe to rely on while driving, it does not mean that drivers should go back to their old ways of using their handhelds. Instead, AAA is showing that drivers should be completely focused on one task: driving.