Previous research using cell phones indicates that manual manipulation is not a principal component of text messaging relating driving detriment. This paper suggests that manipulation of a phone in conjunction with the cognitive need to compose the message itself co-act to contribute to driving degradation. This being so, drivers sending text messages might experience reduced interference to the driving task if the text messaging itself were assisted through the predictive T9 system. We evaluated undergraduate drivers in a simulator who drove and texted using either Assisted Text entry, via Nokia’s T9 system, or unassisted entry via the multitap interface. Results supported the superiority of the T9 system over the multitap system implying that specific assistive technologies can modulate the degradation of capacity which texting tragically induces.
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