Ford Makes Texting While Driving Safe

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Your texting while driving alternative.

Of all of the bad driving habits we’ve seen over the years, e.g. applying make-up while cruising down the interstate, reading the newspaper or eating a sandwich while tooling around town, the most dangerous of them all seems to be texting while driving. Indeed, the practice has become so prevalent–and deadly–that talk show diva Oprah has taken it up as her cause célèbre, advocating the banning of the practice.

Texting Banned

On the state level, 30 states are now or soon will be banning texting while driving with Delaware recently passing a ban that will kick in on January 2, 2011. That isn’t likely to satisfy critics who want to see the practice banned nationally and are pushing the remaining state legislators and jurisdictions to enact similar restraints.

One automaker, however, thinks a different approach is worth exploring. Specifically, the Ford Motor Company is updating its SYNC technology to enable text messaging and give drivers more control over how messages are received and sent. SYNC is the company’s in-car communications and entertainment system developed with Microsoft. Since it was first offered in 2008, Ford has made numerous changes to the technology including offering SYNC across its entire model line.

SYNC Improvements

On the driver experience side of things, Ford is revising the SYNC text message readback feature by giving drivers a “Do Not Disturb” button so they can choose the level of connectivity and communications they want while driving. In addition, Ford is taking the initiative to “lock-out” capabilities that are not relevant to the task of driving while the vehicle is in motion.

Commenting about these changes was John Schneider, Ford’s chief engineer of Ford multimedia and infotainment engineering. “Text messaging has become the default communications method for consumers of all ages. The power of SYNC voice control combined with Ford’s latest connectivity improvements will reduce the temptation to pick up the phone and take your eyes off the road, providing a safer solution for the use of mobile devices in the car.”

2011 Models

The SYNC enhancements aren’t available for current or older Ford models, but the automaker says that the technology will be part of every 2011 vehicle equipped with MyFord or MyLincoln Touch. Ford calls these systems its, “…intuitive driver connect technology that provides drivers personalized access to information and entertainment through voice control, touch screens and familiar five-way controls mounted on the steering wheel.”

Of course, not everyone is in the position to buy a new car nor will everyone consider Ford solely for the ability to text while driving. But, for hard-core text message senders please do everyone a favor by quitting your texting or go out and buy a properly equipped Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle.

Source: Ford Motor Company

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