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Ford Offers New Technology to Prevent Distracted Driving Through Cell Phone Use

Distracted driving problem in U.S.

A new car control system by Ford targets distracted driving for teenage drivers. MyKey allows parents to set speed, music and mobile phone limits for new drivers. When the vehicle is running, parents can block inbound calls and texts.

Of course it is not perfect – teens can deactivate their Bluetooth devices, which will terminate the service. However, it is a great step in the right direction.

"MyKey can give parents peace of mind when they hand the keys over to their kids, and the new Do Not Disturb feature helps parents control another risk factor when their child gets behind the wheel," said Peter Patzelt, system architect for the MyKey system.

This is the first program targeted at teen drivers, which are the most dangerous drivers on our roadways. Teenage drivers represent one-third of all fatal roadway crashes.

It is reported that texting while driving slows reaction time by half, making this irresponsible habit dangerous for everyone – especially text-addicted teens.

There are other systems being installed into vehicles, similar to Ford’s invention. Sync is another system developed by Ford that reads incoming texts out loud to drivers. Then there is, of course, Siri. Siri is on the new iPhone 4S that is designed to be a digital personal assistant. The phone user can ask Siri any question and she will answer it. It is also targeted at drivers who like to use their phone while they drive.

Cell phone providers Spint, AT&T and T-Mobile are also working to prevent distracted driving with apps designed to block calls and texts in moving vehicles.

While it is illegal to talk or text on a cell phone while driving, the rate of accidents caused by distraction has not decreased. The government continues to discuss regulations and fines for those violating the new law.

The new MyKey system is available in the U.S. on 2012 Ford Explorers and 2011 models with SYNC and MyFord Touch.

Distracted Driving Statistics

The federal government estimated that by 2007, 11 percent of drivers were talking on their phones at any given time. Harvard University researchers have estimated that drivers using cell phones are causing more than 2,500 or more fatal crashes a year and more than 500,000 injury accidents annually. In 2008, distracted driving motor vehicle accidents killed nearly 6,000 Americans.