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.

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  • 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?

  • Lou_BC Once again, Mustang is the last pony car standing. Camaro RIP, Challenger RIP.
  • FreedMike Next up should DEFINITELY be the Cadillac Eldorado. On the subject of Caddies, I saw a Lyriq in person for the first time a couple of days ago, and I'm changing my tune on its' styling. In person, it works quite well, and the interior is very nicely executed.
  • Probert Sorry to disappoint: any list. of articles with a 1 second google search. It's a tough world out there - but you can do it!!!!!!
  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.