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Technology as a Defense for Distracted Driving

New voice activation technology in vehicles is designed to deter distracted driving.

While talking or texting on your cell phone is a bad idea while driving, deciphering the map on your GPS, keeping an eye on the kids in the backseat, and even just changing the radio station can be just as distracting.

So car companies are taking action to help keep drivers focused on the road.

Michael Verde, sales manager at Volz Chrysler in Cortlandt Manor, advises customers to use IBM-developed voice technology.

“Now, your cell phone, texting, radio and GPS are all controlled using voice commands, allowing you to keep your focus on the road," Verde said.  "The option is not expensive. A few hundred dollars is all it takes to keep your concentration on your driving.”

The UConnect Hands Free Communication System technology also converts your outgoing and incoming text messages into voice messages retrieved over the car's stereo system. Plus, the radio is also voice-controlled. So no more turning dials to find the right channel; just ask your car to find it for you.  

 “Additionally, we have technology in the car that includes a Blind Spot Monitoring Package that warns the driver with an orange triangle in the side view mirrors if you try to change lanes and a car is in your blind spot," Verde said.

"And, we have adaptive cruise control that automatically decelerates the car if you (come too close to) the car in front of you. It then accelerates to the original speed when you are clear of the vehicle."

Curry Honda in Yorktown Heights also advertises a voice activation system, according to Rich Cerbini, a sales and leasing consultant at the Route 202 dealership.

“Our voice activation system controls the navigation system and radio, and you can even control the heat, air conditioning and rear defroster with your voice,” Cerbini said.

Honda's Odyssey, the car company's pilot for technological innovations, has a feature that allows the driver to control the rear entertainment system by voice. In addition, The cars also have blind spot notification and an integrated USB port for iPods, with controls on the steering wheel so drivers can change the music while keeping their eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

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