Older Adults Benefit from Voice-Activated Car Technology

Distraction behind the wheel is a serious issue for all drivers, but technological advances, such as voice commands and hands-free phone connectivity are helping to reduce the risk of distraction-related accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 18 percent of all accidents in 2010 were affected by distractions. This includes everything from texting or talking on the phone to eating and taking your eyes off the road to check a display screen in the car.

Many studies focus on the risk that distractions can create for younger drivers, but aging motorists need to be considered as well, as approximately 10,000 adults turn 65 every day. As people age, their sensory abilities may wane, making it even more dangerous for them to use in-car technologies.

However, a recent study by automotive technology company Agero Connected Services found that voice activated technology can help senior drivers stay safer on the roads. When compared to drivers between the ages of 18 and 30, those aged 65 to 75 demonstrated similar driving capabilities while using voice technology.

"Using either a speech-only interface of a speech interface combined with brief glances to a display screen helped senior drivers improve their driving and leveled the performance gap between the two generations," explained Tom Schalk, vice president of voice technology for Agero.

Without speech recognition technology, seniors only detected 74 percent of peripheral signals in a driving test. This number rose to 94 percent with the introduction of voice activated technology, comparable to the 95 percent rate for younger drivers without the technology.

This feature can be found on some older vehicles, but can also be installed as an aftermarket accessory to make any car safer. Older drivers can find the ride they want at New Jersey State Auto Auction, which carries a wide selection of makes and models.