Ford has announced that it is aligning itself with road safety efforts regarding the use of mobile phones by installing Bluetooth hands-free technology in most of its new vehicles.
In a recent speech to the Royal Society of Prevention of Accidents, transport minister Stephen Ladyman pointed out that drivers using a mobile phone react 30 per cent slower than those driving properly.
The standard penalty for using a phone while behind the wheel is a £60 fine and three penalty points.
Ford claims that its Bluetooth technology will eliminate the need for drivers to use a phone while driving. The manufacturer’s hands-free system is integrated into its cars’ audio and navigation facilities, meaning that phone, climate control, navigation and audio all respond to voice commands.
Kevin Griffin, Ford’s fleet operations director, said: "Research has shown that Bluetooth is both an effective road-safety technology and one that helps to prevent our customers from breaking the law.
"Our voice activation also allows Ford drivers to give spoken instructions to perform a number of different functions in the car and that means less distraction on today’s busy roads."
Automatically-activated Bluetooth technology will be available in the majority of the automaker’s cars, including the S-Max, Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and Galaxy.