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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 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.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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