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Sync drivers were much less likely to swerve out of their lanes than non-Sync drivers

There have been numerous studies that have shown that distracted drivers can be as dangerous on the road as drunk drivers. Some recent studies have shown that texting while driving may actually be just as dangerous as driving intoxicated.

In an effort to reduce the distractions that drivers are confronted with while driving some stated have instituted hands free laws that require drivers to use hands free kits to make calls while driving. Ford has a system called Sync in some of its vehicles that offers all sorts of hands free technologies to make driving safer while still allowing drivers to stay in contact and listen to music from digital devices.

Ford commissioned a new study that has shown significant differences in how distracted drivers are when using its Sync system compared to not using it. For the study, Ford had drivers select a phone number or choose a song on their MP3 players using Sync compared to doing the same thing manually.

Drivers who did the tasks manually had their eyes off the road for about 25 seconds while drivers using Sync had their eyes off the road for approximately two seconds. Participants in the study were asked to dial ten-digit phone numbers, call a specific person form the digital phone book, receive a call while driving, play a specific song, and review and respond to text messages.

The time eyes were off the road was measured by the researchers for drivers using both methods. Ford says that drivers performing these tasks manually swerved out of their lane 30 percent of the time while Sync users never swerved out of their lane. Ford has also announced a new 911 Assist feature for Sync that can dial 911 post-crash automatically.

Dr. Louis Tijerina from Ford said in a statement, "These real-world results indicate that SYNC's voice-interface offers substantial advantages compared to using a handheld device to do the same task."

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RE: In other news...
By Diesel Donkey on 2/6/2009 1:48:50 PM , Rating: 5
You cannot keep 100% of your focus on driving while screwing around with a cell phone. That is an indisputable fact. You may be "good at multitasking" and splitting your attention between different things, but it is not possible to be as good a driver when some of your attention is diverted as you are when you are completely focused on the task at hand. Your good multitasking skills may keep you safe 99% of the time, but that won't be much comfort that 1 time in 100 when you've just struck and killed a child who was crossing the street and the kid's mother is down on her knees staring up at you with tears streaming down her cheeks. Tell her how good of a multitasker you are. I'm sure she'll forgive you.

RE: In other news...
By MrBlastman on 2/6/2009 2:19:37 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think I could have said it any better. I have now been on the phone with two (2) different people that were driving that have been in an accident while I was talking to them.

I suppose it is my fault for not hanging up on them. The first one was pretty scary as my friend did not return to the phonecall for 30 minutes - all I heard was the beeping of a car sensor and motionless activity, the second one was where my brother rear ended a lady(in a non-sexual way ;) ). Both of these accidents would have been avoided if they were off of the phone.

I'm not perfect either, I try to avoid ever talking on the phone when driving - I make a policy of it and it pisses off my friends. However, a few of the rare times I have been on the phone, I have had some close calls.

Your brain engages a different way while talking on the phone versus just paying attention to the road. This is a fact. The time it takes to refocus your attention happens to be just long enough to reduce your reaction time - that is, if you actually notice something outside the "cell phone bubble."

RE: In other news...
By AnnihilatorX on 2/7/2009 10:39:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why does it piss your friends off?
Your friends are very insensible in that regards if they get pissed off when you tell them you are driving and need to hang up.

RE: In other news...
By mindless1 on 2/7/2009 12:35:53 PM , Rating: 2
What if they are driving but s/he isn't?

People that phone while driving tend to assume they are safe, if you suggest they shouldn't, they take it as an insult to their driving skills, and if you tell them you don't want to risk it, they take it as an insult that you put your safety (which again they assume is a slight risk because they take that risk themselves) more important than their inconvenience it talking at a moment's notice.

Also keep in mind, there's that whole other topic of what "friend" means. If my friend thinks he can drive safely, as a friend do I question that or let him make his own decisions if he hasn't wrecked yet? Many people bought cellphones specifically because they had no patience, felt they needed to talk to anyone at any moment. Convincing them that they may have to have little more convenience than they would've back in the day when one pulled over and used a phone booth seems a step backwards now that they've had that convenience.

Personally, I'm all for banning cell phones while driving and look critically at any automaker that tries to suggest safety improvements in doing something that is still distracting, in an attempt to make it acceptable to bundle more toys into a car. I'll be convinced otherwise when individual testing, certification on a drivers license, differentiates between people who can, and cannot use this tech and retain good reaction times to unexpected problems on the road.

RE: In other news...
By Samus on 2/8/2009 2:26:55 AM , Rating: 2
Don't even bother with the he/she reference...its most likely a she. I've known of two girls already to crash while texting (not on a phone call, TEXTING) and in case everybody forget, the biggest news story to come of unsafe texting was from a women that hit a fucking TRAIN while texting 6 months ago.

Ironically, women are suppose to be better multi-taskers. And while this may be true, it appears indisputable they are becoming more wreckless on the road than men, especially since the insurance price parity gap between boys and girls age 18-25 has closed up considerably over the years where I am from (Illinois)

RE: In other news...
By PrinceGaz on 2/8/2009 7:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. It doesn't matter how good anyone claims to be at multi-tasking, humans do not have dual-core brains which are simultaneously able to provide full attention to safely driving a car with one core, whilst managing the totally seperate social-interaction on a mobile phone on the other core.

Whilst much driving is routing, an emergency can occur with no advance warning, which requires a near to instant response from the driver as possible. They will be unable to do that if they are even partially distracted from driving (partial distractions could include think about work or family life, but they generally fade into insignificance compared with actually talking to someone on a mobile-phone, or as a woman here in the UK was sent to jail for recently- sending text-messages whilst driving down the motorway). A motorway may seem like a relatively safe road as everyone is doing similar speeds and there are no pedestrians or normal junctions, except she slightly veered out of her lane whilst using her phone and slammed into the back of a stationery car which had broken down and was parked in the hard-shoulder (a side-lane for emergency use only) killing the people in it- she survived presumably thanks to air-bags and the like.

The only safe way to combine mobile-hone conversations and driving is for you to be doing one or the other, which fortunately should be feasible soon. Cars with the ability to use a variety of technologies to scan the surrounding area and combine it with GPS info to take the role of the driver for all but the very end of the journey are probably at most a few years off. Once cars take you almost to your destination unaided, you'll be free to chat on your phone, watch movies, play games or anything. Until then, phones should only be used by car-drivers when they have pulled-over somewhere safe.

RE: In other news...
By icrf on 2/6/09, Rating: -1
RE: In other news...
By wordsworm on 2/7/2009 11:05:25 AM , Rating: 3
Are you also one of those people who thinks they can drink a pint of whiskey while they drive without being a danger to everyone?

RE: In other news...
By mindless1 on 2/7/2009 12:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
So what if you don't see something that needs your attention, if it's just an ordinary day with you going one direction, cars going the other way in the adjacent lane, then some tool on a cell phone swerves into your lane during that 2 seconds you weren't paying attention.

It doesn't seem likely, because it wasn't, most didn't have or use cell phones so much as they do today. Today we see a different side, if it's more dangerous than driving drunk when you see tons of people with a phone to their ear, far more than drinking and driving unless you were at a bar or restaurant.

RE: In other news...
By GeorgeH on 2/6/2009 4:10:32 PM , Rating: 5
...and the kid's mother is down on her knees staring up at you with tears streaming down her cheeks...

... The woman knelt in the blood-stained street, cradling the mangled remains of her child. Lifting her tear-stained cheeks to the heavens, she gasped out desperate sob after desperate sob as I stood nervously over her, unsure of what to do. If only I hadn't been on my cell, things might have been different; that innocent child might still be alive.

"Why?" The woman asked me, searching my face for an answer, for comfort, for anything but the terrible agony of sadness that consumed her. "Why?"

"Because that's how I roll." I replied, grinning at the double meaning as I drew my .45. "Say hi to the rugrat for me." Moments later, a fading echo and half a skull were all that remained of the day's ridiculous melodrama; balance was restored to the universe.

As I did a rolling burnout over the fresh corpses, I wondered if I had gone to far. After biting off head of a newborn kitten, I decided that I hadn't.

RE: In other news...
By Diesel Donkey on 2/7/2009 12:35:27 AM , Rating: 3
OK, so maybe I was a little melodramatic, but I did get my point across :)

RE: In other news...
By Chocobollz on 2/7/2009 2:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
What is this? Is this a quest to get a Pulitzer? :p

RE: In other news...
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2009 1:24:51 AM , Rating: 2

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer
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