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Reducing Driver Distractions

Research Drives Solutions


Research is the key to solving the driver
distraction issue. It influences public policy,
driver education and the development of
advanced technologies and vehicle features.
As part of its effort to reduce risky driving
behavior, in 2001 Ford became the first auto
manufacturer in North America to invest in a
full-motion-based driving simulator, so it could
lead the study of driver reaction and behavior
in a controlled, safe laboratory setting.
Ford strongly encourages drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands
on the wheel.
Ford Helps Tackle Driver Distraction
Distracted driving is an important In a new national survey, 86 percent of
issue for everyone on the road licensed U.S. drivers described texting
today. According to a 100-car while driving as “very dangerous,” with
study conducted by Virginia Tech 93 percent supporting a national ban
Transportation Institute, driver on it. Despite strong support for a
inattention that may involve looking nationwide hand-held texting ban, only
away from the road for more 42 percent of respondents believe
than a few seconds is a factor in drivers would stop texting if banned.
nearly 80 percent of accidents. More than 75 percent believe there
Ford Motor Company devotes would be more compliance if hands-
considerable attention to this traffic free or voice-activated technologies
safety issue through research, testing, were widely available.
education and technology, and The survey was conducted by Penn,
recently became the first automaker Schoen & Berland Associates on
to endorse a federal ban on manual behalf of Ford Motor Company.
texting with hand-held devices while
driving.
In Ford’s driving simulator, drivers sit behind
the wheel of a specially instrumented car,
Ford Driving Skills for Life surrounded by a video screen.
According to Ford research, teen
drivers are four times more distracted Ford’s Virtual Test Track Experiment (VIRTTEX)
than adult drivers by cell phone use. simulator uses advanced computers to create
Ford Motor Company Fund is a virtual driving environment. Researchers
addressing that and other teen driver monitor and measure the test subject’s ability
safety concerns with Ford Driving to cope with a variety of driving situations.
Skills for Life (FDSFL). At FDSFL Key findings of Ford’s and other research include:
events, students receive hands-on - A growing number of drivers use hand-held
advanced driver’s training in speed and wireless communication and music-playing
space management, vehicle handling devices while driving.
and hazard recognition by some of
the nation’s top professional driving FDSFL instructors routinely challenge - Manual operation of electronics that takes
instructors. students’ powers of concentration. the driver’s eyes from the road for an
extended time creates the kind of distraction
Now, FDSFL is intensifying its efforts that causes accidents.
on controlled courses. By increasing
to educate teens about the dangers
the distractions, the instructors are - Cognitive distraction plays less of a role
of distracted driving by routinely
helping students recognize dangerous in crashes and near-miss events than
challenging students’ powers of
behaviors and avoid them. previously believed.
concentration during supervised drives
FDSFL also reaches teens with - Many studies show that hands-free, voice-
www.drivingskillsforlife.com, which based interfaces offer advantages over hand-
offers a learning module, car care held, visual-manual interfaces for command
videos, driving tip videos, games and or data entry while driving and reduce the risk
an eco-driving curriculum. of visual driver distractions.

9/2009 for more information, go to WWW.media.ford.com


Reducing Driver Distractions

Meeting Voluntary Guidelines SYNC® Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI)


Ford has worked with the Alliance of Automobile Ford knows that customers are increasingly using mobile electronics while
Manufacturers to develop driver-interface test driving, and studies show hands-free, voice-activated systems such as Ford
methods and voluntary guidelines that address SYNC offer significant
driver focus and interaction with telematics and WITHOUT SYNC safety benefits over hand-
infotainment systems. held devices.
The guidelines and Ford’s test methods were The latest SYNC
used in the development of SYNC®, Ford’s fully application, Traffic,
integrated, voice-activated in-car communications Directions & Information
and entertainment system for mobile devices. (TDI), provides simple
Basically, the guidelines dictate that any manual hands-free access to audio
cell phone tasks on the SYNC system that can’t of personalized traffic
be completed in a minimum eyes-off-road-time are reports, precise driving
locked out when the vehicle is in motion, and can directions and up-to-date
only be operated when the vehicle is parked. information including
business listings, news,
sports and weather.
SYNC TDI is available
WITH SYNC TDI as an option on nearly all
2010 Ford, Lincoln and
“Turn left on Mercury vehicles. There
Oak Street” are more than 1 million
SYNC-equipped Ford
Motor Company vehicles
on the road.

SYNC TDI leverages


industry-leading
Ford’s efforts to meet voluntary guidelines voice-recognition software,
address driver focus and interaction with integrated GPS and
vehicle systems. Bluetooth-capable phones.

MyKey™
As part of a comprehensive
approach to teen safety,
Ford has introduced an
Statement on Driver innovative new technology
– called MyKey – designed
Distraction Legislation
to help parents encourage
“At Ford, we think driver distraction is a critically their teenagers to drive
important issue. Drivers experience many different safer and more fuel
types of distractions on a daily basis. Drivers are going efficiently, and increase
to have conversations, read maps and directions, and safety belt usage.
listen to music while they drive.
MyKey allows owners to
The most complete and most recent research shows program a key that can
that activity that draws drivers’ eyes away from the limit the vehicle’s top
road for an extended period while driving, such as text speed to 80 mph with
messaging, substantially increases the risk of accidents. special chimes sounded
Ford believes hands-free, voice-activated technology at 45, 55 and 65 mph.
substantially reduces that risk by allowing drivers to MyKey also limits audio
keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. volume to less than half of
Ford supports a ban on hand-held text messaging while the maximum, encourages
driving – and we endorse the legislation introduced by safety belt usage and
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Carolyn provides earlier low-fuel
McCarthy (D-NY) that would encourage a more warnings.
rapid transition to hands-free and voice-activated MyKey debuted as standard
technologies. This legislative approach addresses a MyKey Persistent Belt-Minder®
equipment on the 2010 Ford
nationwide problem we can all agree is necessary to Focus and Taurus and will If the MyKey driver and/or front passenger
improve safety.” become standard on many does not buckle their safety belt, then the
– Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president for other Ford, Lincoln and MyKey Persistent Belt-Minder® will display
Sustainability, Environment Mercury models. a warning and mute the audio system.
and Safety Engineering

9/2009 for more information, go to WWW.media.ford.com