DWT is Dangerous, Blackberry Outage Saved Lives, and Ford Sync Gets Vocal
Driving While Texting (DWT) is dangerous, says the New York Police Department, and they have facts to back it up. According to recently published statistics by the NYPD, driver inattention/distraction was the leading cause of vehicle collisions in August. Of the 16,784 total crashes in New York in August, 11 percent were attributed to drivers fiddling with their phones and other wireless devices. "Without a doubt, the new technology that we have has created a lot more opportunity for distraction," said AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. This news isn't new, but the statistics that back it up are alarming, and obvious to anyone who regularly drives in rush hour. And yet, more worrisome (poor driving habits; increasingly plugged-in lifestyle?) is a report from Dubai and Abu Dhabi last week concerning the Blackberry network outage. According to The National, traffic accidents fell by 20- and 40-percent during the outage dates. "Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we're really glad about that," said Brigadier General Al Harethi, director of the Abu Dhabi Police traffic department. "People are slowly starting to realize the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working." Because of a federal study that linked distracted drivers to 25 percent of national accidents, and recent awareness of the DWT epidemic, at least one manufacturer is touting its infotainment connectivity as a safe alternative. Ford today announced that its Sync infotainment system will offer hands-free text message readback, so the people you don't want to talk to directly will now be vocalized, just as if you were talking to them. “A limited population of phones has the capability to work with the text message readback feature of Sync,” said Mark Porter, supervisor of Sync Product Development. “With our initial adoption of MAP for our latest generation of Sync and our recent efforts to integrate it into our previous variations of the system, we hope we are setting an example that encourages more collaboration between Ford, the phonemakers and the wireless industry to help drivers find smarter alternatives to hand-held texting while on the road.” Automotive.com's take: Your Facebook status updates and "where u at" text messages are not more important than your responsibility behind the wheel. Nor are they more important than the safety of families who have to share the road with you. Be smart. Put the phone down. Source: NYPD, New York Daily News, The National
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