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Car makers adding features to curb distracted driving

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Distracted driving is blamed for more than 3,000 deaths in 2011. And while there are many things that can take your attention away from the road, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says text messaging is considered the worst and now car makers are trying to keep the problem under control.

Laws can punish you for testing while driving, but technology may be another way to combat the problem.

Sending a text message takes your eyes of the road for just 4.6 seconds. But that's the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour. Or, if your car is equipped with the latest technology, you can have your text messages read to you and reply.

Without taking you eyes of the road or hands off the wheel, thanks to technology that syncs your phone with your car.

"You would get the notification just like you typically world, but instead of picking up your device, you would just have Siri read my messages," said Ben Taft with Chevrolet.

Taft says the company is putting in new technology that goes beyond text messaging. Some cars even come with sonar technology that slows you down to keep the car ahead a safe distance away.

"Parents view it as an added bonus and benefit," Taft said.

Blind-spot indicators are another way technology is helping drivers.

Paul Diamanti with Sterling McCall Ford says controlling the text messages is one of the features most sought after by anxious moms and dads.

"Ford wants you to get in the car and the phone pairs up with the system, and you do your driving and keep your eyes on the road," he said.

The technology has been available for years on more expensive cars, but now you can find it on cars under $20,000, something parents are happy to hear.

Find Jeff on Facebook at ABC13JeffEhling or on Twitter at @jeffehlingabc13

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