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Special report: Is voice texting safer than texting with your hands?

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ALTAMONT, N.Y.---The dangers of texting while driving are not new to any of us, but a new study finds texting with your voice, is just as dangerous as texting with your hands.

Both methods lower your response time by double.

The study, conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, found when using voice-texting, drivers took longer to complete a text than when typing manually.

The Newscenter observed Voorheesville high school students who went through a mock driving course, quickly learning a deadly accident only takes a second.

"I don't care how good you think you are, it's that second that counts," says Ed Frank, the leader and creator of Choices 301 in Altamont, a program that teaches kids the dangers of texting while driving.

On a mock course with cones representing people or cars, 18-year-old Nathan Pettograsso started by texting with his hands only, first hitting a cone with the back of his car and then a second later, a head-on collision.

"I was doing great and then I started texting again," says Pettograsso. "I didn't make the turn when I needed to make it and I just killed somebody."

The mock situation soon became a harsh reality for Pettograsso.

"I wouldn't be able to comprehend what just happened," he says. "I'd be shocked, I'd be terrified, I'd be thinking about their family."

But what about voice texting?

17-year-old Sierra Pease got behind the wheel to test it out and hit a dummy which "ran out" in front of the car.

"I didn't even know it was coming and it could have easily been a child running," says Pease. "I was thinking about the text even when I was talking."

In the Texas A&M Transportation Institute study, drivers said voice-texting felt safer, but there was no difference in reaction times when compared to typing texts.

Sierra Pease's mom watched the video of her daughter's mock crashes while voice texting.

She says, she too, is surprised by the study.

"Even though I know it's still not safe, I would think it would be safer," says Robin Hull-Pease. "But that video showed me that's not actually the case. I saw her texting, but when she actually hit it more powerfully while she was voice texting, that really surprised me."

State police say any distraction, with your voice or hands, affects a driver.

"You're not really paying attention to the road," says Trooper Dale I. Palmer. "You may be looking at the road, but you're thinking about sending a text. The next thing you know a vehicle in front of you stops quickly and that second hesitation is going to create a crash."

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