Legislation encourages safer driving through technology innovation

New federal laws prohibit use of cell phones for calls or texting while driving a commercial vehicle.

Beginning in January 2012, commercial drivers are prohibited from use of hand-held cellphones and new requirements are going into place concerning texting while driving – and new vehicle technology is actually helping all drivers to drive more safely.

A joint rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the latest action endorsed by the U.S. Department of Transportation that aims to end distracted driving. This federal ban on cell phone took effect January 3, 2012. Legislators from many states are trying to get these laws extended to all drivers in all states.

In recent months major truck and bus companies, such as Greyhound, Wal-Mart, UPS, Conoco-Phillips and others, have changed their policies to ban their drivers from using hand-held cell phones, to make and receive phone calls, or for texting. In other words, talk or text on a cellphone while driving and you could lose your job. Continue reading

New, improved Ford Sync support with more user-friendly website!

The original syncmyride.com web screen, now the site is called support.ford.com

The original syncmyride.com web screen, now the site is called support.ford.com

Ford now has 24/7 support to improve the customer’s experience with the SYNC system – with a rebuilt user-friendly website now called support.ford.com

The critics lash out at Ford for creating too much technology at a rate that’s much too fast. The reality is more like the constant development is just keeping up with the public appetite. Also, bringing so much new and important technology to the vehicle does require a new emphasis on consumer education and support. It’s funny, computer companies never provided this kind of support when as they rolled out new operating systems and new devices over the years.

Now when someone visits support.ford.com (formerly called  www.syncmyride.com)  they are greeted with a user’s perspective of a MyFord Touch system with the words “Sync. Say the word. Available voice-activated technology personalized by the people who use it.” You can choose to review it from the Ford or the Lincoln perspective. Or, if you are already registered, you can go ahead and log in.

For the researchers, this is the biggest plus. You can review almost every function – you can see it and hear it being used so that you can get a feel for it. Continue reading

VHR Sync App allows vehicle Self-Diagnosis

Vehicle Health Report

Car not running right? Ford’s VHR gets up-to-minute info e-mailed to you.

Since 2010, new Ford owners have had a really cool app, built right in their dashboard, which allows them to perform self-diagnostics on their vehicle it’s like having a doctor in the dashboard.

This no-charge program is called Vehicle Health Report and its true, the doctor really does make “house calls.”Since 2009 Ford has been adding into its Sync hands-free telematics system a couple of programs that don’t get much recognition. The 911 Assist and Vehicle Health Report programs require a 2010 or newer Ford with the correct “hardware” and the Sync system.

The one app will automatically dial 911 on a paired phone through the Sync system if your car is in an accident and the airbags deploy.With your phone on and paired to the system, the Sync system calls the nearest 911 operator and relays latitude, longitude and elevation coordinates (thus giving the EMTs a GPS clue as to where you are) and allows you to speak to the 911 operator. With the introduction of the 2015 models, some Fords will also relay to the 911 operator the type of vehicle you are in and how fast you were going at impact.

The Vehicle Health Report app requires a little groundwork before you get the most benefit. When a customer opens a complimentary Sync My Ride account at www.syncmyride.com. A smiliar (and linked) website for internet support is support.ford.com they can specify their preferred dealer, what type of driving conditions they typically experience and more. After users register at syncmyride.com and activate VHR, they can conveniently generate reports using simple voice commands in the vehicle for display on syncmyride.com.

When the user initiates VHR, SYNC collects the vehicle’s mileage and diagnostic data from the major electronic systems and transfers the data to Ford using the customer’s Bluetooth-paired and connected mobile phone or you can have it sent to your preferred e-mail account.

A comprehensive report is generated from vehicle data and includes system information and recommended actions for any displayed vehicle warning indicators, open recalls, Ford scheduled maintenance, and unserviced maintenance and wear items from previous dealer visits.

Users can select to receive a text message or e-mail when their report is ready on syncmyride.com. They can print the report, e-mail it to others or, in one click, be at their preferred dealer’s Web site with their health report information waiting to schedule service online. Depending on the user’s preference settings, SYNC can also deliver a text message alert to the user’s cell phone if a severe issue exists with one of the SYNC-monitored systems.

The VHR system translates complicated codes and descriptions into easy-to-understand language for users and provides recommended actions specific to vehicle’s operating condition and service history.

It also gives users background information on what specific warning indicators mean and details beyond a light. This helps them learn more about their car and provides additional security and peace of mind with their ownership experience.

Even if the SYNC-monitored vehicle systems are “all green,” VHR provides valuable information about systems operation, maintenance and more.

Users also have the option to set up SYNC to automatically remind them to run a VHR when it’s time to perform scheduled maintenance. You can also set the oil change reminder depending on the mileage range you choose, right in the vehicle!

Through a single button click and a voice command, users can also reproduce their VHR in about a minute. Whatever the vehicle was experiencing at the time will be reported in the file. So now, if you pull into the service department and tell the advisor that you were having trouble, you will have a written report that states those things they need to follow up on. Usually, the advisor will ask “what kind of trouble?” and then it’s your turn to do an improvised description. Ford seems to be the only manufacturer out there with a program such as  Vehicle Health Report. More than a phone app, this program works where and when you need it. The profile information is easily transferred to Ford’s online appointment system to schedule service directly with the preferred dealership.

When I did a report I also got 14 coupons on brakes, tires, oil changes and more. And, I also found out that I had a credit from my Owners Advantage Rewards program. How cool is that?

This is a customer rewards program that most Ford dealers participate in. It gives a credit back for parts and service bought at the dealer. Seems that taking good care of your vehicle is a whole lot easier, thanks to Ford. Once again, with the introduction of some 2015 Ford and Lincoln models, the availability and usage of these two apps may change. However, you would still need the Sync system to use, have a internet account linked to an e-mail, a paired phone, and the App active for these two apps to work.

For those with Sync in their vehicles, see your account at www.syncmyride.com or at support.ford.com or owner.ford.com

Peace of Mind with Ford’s Sync Technology

Ford’s 911 Assist, a part of Ford’s exclusive SYNC technology system since 2009, may be one of the handiest features drivers hope they’ll never need. It also gives drivers peace of mind!

On any given day, you may be driving your brand-new Ford vehicle when the unexpected happens – another car might crash into you or there might be some other traffic accident. After almost any accident the driver is dazed and confused, totally unsure of what just happened. Then the next thing you might hear from your car is a woman’s voice that says… “A 911 call is being placed.”
In the event of an accident involving the activation of an air bag or, on certain vehicles, the emergency fuel pump shutoff, 911 Assist will place a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator. In such a situation that an occupant cannot respond, SYNC speaks to the 911 service and alerts an operator that a crash has occurred.
When a cell phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC ― which is designed to occur every time the driver enters the vehicle with his or her cell phone ― the system is ready to go.

Continue reading