Text speak made simple

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Clemson University researchers have developed a hands-free alternative to sending text messages while driving.

A team lead by Juan Gilbert, professor and chairman of the human-centred computing division of Clemson’s School of Computing, developed the application, called VoiceTEXT, which allows drivers to simultaneously speak their text messages while concentrating on the road.

Drivers using VoiceTEXT put their mobile phones in Bluetooth mode and connect it to their car.

‘Through the car’s speaker system or through the driver’s own Bluetooth headset, drivers can give a voice command that delivers a text message,’ said Gilbert. ‘So you can speak to your phone and tell it to send a message to an individual. The recipient’s phone recognises the voice as a text message and the other person is able to respond appropriately.’

The US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that 80 per cent of crashes and 65 per cent of near crashes involve driver distraction. According to the agency, mobile phone use is among the reasons for driver distraction. 

Text messaging while driving is banned in 21 US states and territories.

Gilbert said one problem with banning texting while driving is that people are likely to continue doing it, adding that it will be difficult for police to enforce a ban unless they witness someone in the act. Gilbert said evidence of texting while driving often surfaces only after an accident.

Gilbert and his researchers are conducting a survey on the use of VoiceTEXT at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DC6S5X7.

The survey opens with a video demonstration of VoiceTEXT, followed by three multiple-choice questions and space for comments.

US measures against text messaging while driving

  • President Obama’s Executive Order 13513, Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving, prohibits all federal employees and contractors from engaging in text messaging while driving vehicles that are owned, leased or rented by the government, and driving privately owned vehicles while on official government business.
  • In January 2010 a federal ban was placed on texting for commercial truck drivers.

Source: US Department of Transportation