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Distracted Driving and MyFord Touch: Better, But is it Enough?

This summer, Ford is rolling out its MyFord Touch, a high-tech dashboard for multimedia, navigation, and Internet capabilities. Two features of the MyFord Touch system is the ability to make your car into a WiFi hotspot and HD radio with iTunes tagging support. The design replicates a traditional dashboard; everything is interconnected. Information is displayed on a pair of 4.2″ full-color LCD screens on either side of an analog speedometer with five-way navigation buttons on either side of the steering wheel. This makes it easier to navigate different options. An 8″ touch screen LCD at the top of the center console is the centerpiece of phone, navigation, climate, and audio/entertainment features.

Much of MyFord Touch is voice activated; this, in theory, would prevent the need to look down or to the driver’s right, while driving. However, touch screens require a certain amount of concentration on the part of the user. In a moving vehicle, any diversion can quickly become a safety hazard. The smart design would certainly eliminate the need for the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel. But, what about keeping the driver’s eyes on the road? Isn’t this of equal or greater importance?

Ford says the system will respond, almost entirely, to verbal commands. The driver will talk to his/her Ford vehicle dashboard, and it will make calls, play songs, etc. The driver can hear stocks, emails, tweets, and texts. While we are certain that these verbal commands are intended to make drivers safer, they still result in distracted driving. The natural instinct to push buttons is firmly entrenched in many drivers who use cell phones texting devices, internet tools and other distracting technological devices

Is it time to embrace these technological advances or express concern about distracted driving? Watch this video and notice the number of buttons and screens. The video offers this disclaimer:

Driving while distracted can result in loss of vehicle control. Only use mobile phones and other device even with voice controls when it is safe to do so.

Doesn’t the quoted language imply that Ford realizes that MyFord Touch may create distracted driving? Should we be adding more controls and gadgets to our vehicles, or should we be doing more to control distractions?

Lawsuit Financial strongly encourages its readers to stop talking on cell phones, texting, and/or engaging in additional activities that cause you to take your eyes off the road or yor hands off the steering wheel. Mobile phone, iPod, IPhone, and/or Blackberry useage, texting or internet devices used while driving are simply not safe. If you must use one of these devices during a trip, pull of the road for a few minutes; this simple act, though somewhat time consuming, may add precious minutes to your lifespan.

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