Manufacturers continue to add newer, more high-tech features to automobiles, and while many of these systems, such as Ford's Sync, have voice-activation to cut down on driver distraction, there's still a chance that all the features that these systems offer could cause drivers to be distracted.
Car companies face a charge of hypocrisy here. On the one hand, systems like Sync and Chrysler's Uconnect are attractive to buyers. On the other hand, car manufacturers could find themselves being accused of promoting distracted driving, even as they attempt to market the hands-free features.
To that end, Ford will offer a "Do Not Disturb" button on Sync that will blocked incoming calls and texts, sending calls to voicemail and texts to a place on the Sync system where they can be read later. The system will debut with My Ford Touch, and it will first be available on the 2011 Ford Edge and 2011 Lincoln MKX.
In addition, Ford's system will prevent drivers from typing an address into the navigation system manually, and other actions that require typing or scrolling through lists will be simplified. Customers will still be able to make voice-activated phone calls and use Sync 911 to make an emergency call, should the need arise.
Distracted driving is becoming a major concern, and Ford is trying to walk the line between offering customers what they want and keeping them from being too distracted.