Ford Syncs Up With Distracted Driving Crusade

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Distracted driving is fast becoming the bête noir du jour for hysterical “safety-first” types. Following the standard blueprint for these kinds of panics, the New York Times got pulses racing first with a series of articles aimed at making a general problem (most drivers suck) seem like a specific, solvable “crisis.” Then Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called for a “distracted driving summit,” and the campaign to get America to stop texting and start paying attention to the damn road before you kill us all was well underway. But these things never really take off until a major corporation smells a chance to make money, and signs on. Which Ford has apparently now done, by officially endorsing HR 3535 at its “ The Ford Story” blog. But why?

“At Ford, we think driver distraction is a critically important issue,” explains Sue Cischke, Ford’s Group VP for Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. But this is no battle of principle.

Drivers experience many different types of distractions on a daily basis. Drivers are going to have conversations, read maps and directions, and listen to music while they drive. The most complete and most recent research shows that activity that draws drivers’ eyes away from the road for an extended period while driving, such as text messaging, substantially increases the risk of accidents…. Ford believes hands-free, voice-activated technology substantially reduces that risk by allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Technologies like . . . Ford’s Sync, for example. Does this explain why . . .

Dr. Jeffrey Runge, then the head of the highway safety agency, said he grudgingly decided not to publish the draft letter [to Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta “warning states that hands-free laws might not solve” the cell phone distracted driving problem] because of larger political considerations.

Join the conversation
2 of 10 comments
  • NulloModo NulloModo on Sep 14, 2009

    essen - You saw an ad for Ford Work Solutions. Basically, it's a set of options including an in-dash computer, fleet tracking and telematics system, and RFID tool tracking system. Anything distracting locks out automatically when the vehicle is in motion (just like the non-voice commands on a nav system) and it is more geared to allow contractors and others who use the trucks for work to be able to print out invoices, remote login to office computers to check files and information, and run a business while out in the field one's self than it is for casual web browsing. I haven't had a chance to play with it since the traditional nav head unit is far more user friendly and thus all we order for retail trucks. The Work Solutions setup makes a lot of sense for business vehicles, but it is only availible on the work truck trim levels and at least at my dealership only put on vehicles by special order.

  • Fincar1 Fincar1 on Sep 15, 2009

    If you get a text message "PULL OVER U R UNDER ARREST" is that distracting?

  • Bullnuke It may be awhile before these show up on US shores. The MV Fremantle Highway has just started demo/reconstruction in Rotterdam after the large fire when transporting its last shipment of electric Porsche products.
  • Fie on Fiasler Big, fast and thirsty does not equal good. True luxury is not cobbled together by the UAW.
  • Inside Looking Out I see it as gladiator races - only one survives in virtual world.
  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.