Texting using Google Glass while driving not safer than using smartphones: Study

A scientific study that explores the relationship between texting with Google Glass and driving shows that using Glass is not any different from using a smartphone in the same situation. Texting while driving is a distracting activity regardless of the device used.

According to the records of the National Safety Council, mobile use while driving results to around 1.6 million crashes every year. With the increasing visibility of Google Glass and wearables from other companies, several states are looking into banning the use of such technologies while one is on the road.

"As distractive influences threaten to become more common and numerous in drivers' lives, we find the limited benefits provided by Glass a hopeful sign of technological solutions to come," said Ben Sawyer, researcher from the University of Central Florida (UCF). "Texting with either a smartphone or Glass will cause distraction and should be avoided while driving."

The experiment was participated in by 40 participants. Each one was asked to drive in a car simulator and use either a smartphone or a Google Glass. Each would have to step on the brakes as a way of reacting to a vehicle ahead.

The researchers compared how the participants reacted to situations when they were purely driving and when they were multitasking, such as sending out a text while they are behind the wheel. When it comes to hitting the brakes on time, those using Glass showed the same level of reaction with their smartphone-using counterparts. However, the Glass users are able to return to driving or place their attention back on the road more quickly than their mobile phone-loving counterparts.

"While Glass-using drivers demonstrated some areas of improved performance in recovering from the brake event, the device did not improve their response to the event itself," said Sawyer.

He further added that after recording every measure, they learned that messaging through either device caused a negative impact on one's driving performance. When compared to those who are just driving, Glass or smartphone-using drivers tend to react more slowly, adopt greater following distances and preserve less headway on a brake event.

Some people may have the notion that Glass users have the advantage of sending text messages since they are using only some voice commands and head movements. This means that their hands or thumbs are free as compared to those who are using their smartphones. In reality, texting and driving don't really mix as one is definitely bound to get distracted. People should not be misled about trading in their smartphone for Google Glass and believe that they can send texts in a safer way.

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