Ford Thumbs its Nose at Distracted Driving Facts

Do corporate capitalists really commit highly-researched mass murder in order to reap their profits?  You bet your expendable “consumer” ass they do.

Today’s example:  The Ford Motor Company’s promulgation of its “Sync” package of telecommunications interfaces in the dashes of new cars and trucks.

Among many other extremely dangerous things, the newest version of “Sync” is going to add hands-free text messaging to the increasingly distracted driving experience.

A long train of independent research has shown that the use of hands-free cellular telephones provides little or no safety benefit compared to hands-on use.

Given that text messages are inherently denser and not genuinely live and interactive, even when converted to audio, they almost certainly require quite a bit more attention than does a phone conversation.  Hence, hands-free texting is virtually certain to contribute to thousands of additional automobile deaths every year.

Ford cares not:

“[Sync] is a reason now to buy a Ford,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said in an interview.

“Sync is easy to sell to a person under 35,” said John Wolkonowicz, an analyst at IHS Global Insight of Lexington, Massachusetts. “Sync is about entertainment and connectivity, which is very Gen Y.”

To the extent it bothers to explain its murder-for-money, Ford relies on the old tobacco corporation gambit:  Fudge-talk about unreleased internal “studies”:

Ford, which has endorsed legislation to outlaw texting while driving, said its research indicates that hands-free communication doesn’t distract drivers.

“Most of the industry studies show that just driving and just talking is the same,” Kuzak said. “As long as the customer’s eyes are on the road, they are not compromised.”

And our public servants’ response to this blatant bullshit?  Nothing, nada, nil.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified Oct. 29 that he found Ford’s Sync system distracting when he tested it on a Taurus sedan during a visit to Dearborn.

“As much as I liked driving the Taurus and as much as I liked the Sync system where you put your BlackBerry in and it syncs all your numbers, it’s a distraction,” LaHood told a House highways subcommittee at a hearing on distracted driving.

Despite this personal finding of the highest transportation official in the land, literally nothing is being done to block Sync and its counterpart plans at the other car corporations.

At the level of social criticism, this increasing encroachment of entertainment and marketing on the space of the car-driver is still more proof of the totalitarian nature of corporate capitalism.  As somebody once noted:

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

Even when the invasions and expansions begin to threaten the future viability of the system’s own core commodity!