As California prepares to go "hands-free" this summer, Ford is ready to
help the 29.7 million cell phone subscribers in California with its
state-of-the-art Sync in-car communications and entertainment system,
developed with Microsoft. California drivers don't have to buy a new
bluetooth handsfree headset to comply with the law if they already own
a Sync-equipped Ford vehicle.
Ford Sync provides consumers the convenience and flexibility to bring digital media players - Apple iPods, Microsoft Zunes, and other MP3 players - and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones into their vehicle and operate the devices via voice commands or with the vehicle's steering wheel or radio controls.
"Americans, on average, commute 30 minutes each way every day, and in California, commute times are longer," said Hal Dewsnap, Los Angeles regional manager Ford, Lincoln Mercury. "Sync helps people stay connected while minimizing distractions during their commute by keeping their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road ahead."
Sync, which was recently named 2008's "Best New Technology" by the
Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, is currently available in
12 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, including the Ford Edge,
Explorer, Focus, Fusion, Sport Trac, Taurus, Taurus X, Lincoln MKX and
MKZ, and Mercury Milan, Mountaineer, and Sable. It will also be offered
on the all-new Ford Flex coming to dealerships this summer, as well as
the 2009 Ford F-150, Ford Escape, Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator.
A new law will take effect in California on July 1st, aimed at reducing accidents caused by distracted drivers, typically those using cell phones or accessing music. State Law SB1613 prohibits use of a cell phone in a moving vehicle unless the driver is using a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth headset or vehicle-integrated unit such as Sync .
In his message to Californians, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said "With the implementation of this law, many lives will be saved from car accidents caused by distracted drivers." The California Highway Patrol recorded 4,236 traffic fatalities in California in 2006, citing cell phone use as the number one cause of distracted driving accidents.
The new legislation requiring hands-free cell phone use aims to reduce the number of distracted driving incidents.
Sync-equipped vehicles give drivers the necessary tool to comply with SB1613 by delivering hands-free and voice-commanded access to their electronic devices. Sync, which utilizes proprietary upgradable software from Microsoft, will add new features later this year, including 911 Assist, a feature that will help drivers connect with emergency assistance in the event of an air bag deployment, and a Vehicle Health Report, which drivers can retrieve from the Sync website. Further information and updates on Sync can be found at www.syncmyride.com.
Consumer research has shown that 66% of consumers who experienced Sync said it improved their opinion of Ford and that 57% were more likely to buy a Ford after learning about Sync. Ford estimates that there will be a million Sync-equipped vehicles on the road by 2009.
by Brandy Schaffels