Study shows Europeans text behind the wheel as much as Americans

will windows phone 7 finally win microsoft the respect it deserves ford syncAmericans are known for being bad drivers. We’re the nation of the cupholder and the Ford Pinto. We don’t take safe driving seriously, because we have other things to do. Things are different in Europe, though. Surely the birthplace of Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Porsche takes driving more seriously. The epidemic of texting on American roads couldn’t possibly happen there, right? A new study begs to differ.

The study, commissioned by Ford, involved a survey of 5,500 drivers from five European countries. Forty-eight percent of survey participants admitted to texting while driving. At least they felt that they were doing something wrong: more than half of the respondents said texting increases a driver’s reaction time by 50 percent.

The most distracted nation was Italy; 61 percent of Italian respondents admitted to texting while driving. Next came Russia, with 55 percent, then France and Spain, with 49 and 40 percent, respectively. The nation least likely to text while driving was England, at 33 percent.

According to Ford, Europeans text at the same rate as Americans when behind the wheel. A 2010 Pew Research Center study found that 47 percent of adult American respondents admitted to texting while driving. Either Americans have a new excuse for their behavior, or we’re dragging the rest of the world down with us.

The Ford study coincided with the launch of Sync in Europe. The system can read text messages and the driver can respond with voice commands. Sync, along with the MyFord Touch connectivity systems, has been on sale in the U.S. for a few years, with mixed reviews. Ford will not be the first company to offer enhanced connectivity in Europe; systems like BMW’s iDrive have been on sale there as long as they have been in the U.S. BMW never tried to prove that its customers were bad drivers, though.

In a sense, America is leading the way when it comes to in-car technology. The potentially deadly combination of texting and driving has been a public issue in the U.S. for quite awhile. In fact, American lawmakers have moved on from texting itself to scrutinize the supposedly safer alternatives, like Sync. Last December, the National Transportation Safety Board proposed a ban on all cell phone use while driving. A few months later, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issued proposed regulations for in-car electronics.

This new study could prompt European governments to take a closer look at driver behavior. If they do, they might be shocked to find that they are no better than the people that made the Chevy Corvair.


Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.