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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 institute tested 43 participants driving along a test track once without any mobile devices, then once while texting, and once while using speech-to-text.

Dictating messages to be converted into text also took longer than manual texting. Either way, driver performance was affected, both in terms of response time and the amount of time drivers spent looking at the road ahead.

And while drivers felt like they were less safe while texting, they assumed they were safer with voice texting.

"Understanding the distracted driving issue is an evolving process, and this study is but one step in that process,” Christine Yager, the researcher who ran the study, said. “We believe it’s a useful step, and we’re eager to see what other studies may find.”

The institute already has the next study lined up: a 3,000-driver survey of the motivations and attitudes of distracted drivers that will be figuring out which demographic groups are most likely to be distracted while behind the wheel. ®

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