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MyFord Touch
At least not today...

Deaths from auto accidents related to distracted driving are nothing new and have been making headlines for years. The federal government is looking at ways to penalize drivers for using things like cell phones and texting while driving. So far, there is no federal ban for the masses against distracted driving, but several states have made their own laws that ban driving and using a cell phone or texting.

Whether or not the police in areas where bans are in effect can catch drivers using their phones is a point of debate. Some people claim that driving and talking on a mobile phone using hands free technology like OnStar from GM or Sync from Ford is just as distracting as holding a phone and talking while you drive.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has stated that the NHTSA will not at this time seek any ban on hands free technology while driving. However, LaHood notes that the NHTSA is investigating whether features like OnStar and Sync pose a "cognitive distraction" to users. If the research the NHTSA is performing proves that these hands free systems are a distraction more regulations could be imposed.

LaHood said, "We base our solutions on data, and before I or anyone else gets up and starts talking about 'hands-free this' or 'hands-free that,' or Sync or whatever, we want to have good data to back it up."

LaHood said that a study that the NHTSA conducted last year found that over 5,500 people died in 2009 in accidents that were a direct result of distracted driving. Ford and OnStar maintain that their hands free systems allow the driver to use their mobile phone in a safer manner with fewer distractions.

Ford's Alan Hall said, "Drivers are going to have conversations on the phone, read maps and directions, and listen to their MP3 player while they drive. Ford Sync helps them perform these tasks safer." 

GM has noted that it has no evidence that suggests crashes increase when drivers use OnStar hands free features. LaHood said, "Until we have some good data on some of these systems, which we're studying right now, we can't really say for certain." 

Consumer Reports would agree that MyFord Touch that works with Sync on some Ford vehicles is a confusing and distracting system. Ford is offering classes at some dealers to teach buyers how to work the MyFord Touch system and Sync.

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RE: It's amazing...
By kilkennycat on 3/8/2011 5:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
My son's car was rear-ended and totalled by an idiot yakking into a cell-phone. Some whiplash, but he had a decent headrest to cushion most of the head movement. When people realize that they are driving a truly lethal weapon, then maybe they will care enough not to be "distracted". However, many of those who have realized this fact are either dead, in jail for "manslaughter" or crippled for life. Laws to regulate truly-stupid people are not the answer, but they can make the consequences more painful for the perps.

As for issuing driving licenses to all and sundry, maybe the US should take a leaf out of the UK driving book. There they have a proper driving test to fully check the skills of the driver, including several precision maneuvers. (In a crowded country with narrow roads and streets and lots of bicycles such precision driving tests are absolutely essential.) I have a relative who has attempted the UK driving test many times and has never passed; he can still drive between tests but must have a passenger that is a qualified driver at all times. Not many people pass the UK driving test the very first time. The UK also has draconian laws regarding the use of cell-phones while driving.

RE: It's amazing...
By Beenthere on 3/8/2011 10:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
It would be un-American to actually require driving skills to have a driver's license and operate a motorized vehicle. In America it's a God given right.

There is no chance of most people here ever accepting personal responsibility for their actions. We are the "entitled" country... The siren chasers are lined up to prove that you can be irresponsible and become a millionaire via jackpot justice. Our judicial system is corrupt and for sale to the highest bidder or slickest talking paid liar.

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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