Ford Motor Co. has been conducting research into voice-activated interfaces as well as voice command modules such as GPS systems and navigation systems, and their work with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has seemingly paid off. Their latest studies tried to gauge the driver distraction level for onboard systems such as navigation, and the results show that drivers are less prone to be distracted when they interact with voice-activated devices instead of button-operated ones.

But…really? Who didn’t see that one coming?

Ford isn’t the only one to have voice activated systems; voice commands are all the rage at Hyundai, Nissan and Lexus as well. Why? Because they work. The systems cut down on driver distractions – for example, people using the voice-recognition Sync platform (only available in Fords at the moment) take their eyes off the road 2.5 times less than people with a regular cell phone, and users with voice activated music players took their eyes off the road 10 times less than those with an ordinary car stereo or a manual MP3 player.

The auto transport industry has long been interested in voice commands – it’s a safety issue for all drivers on the road, and the fewer distracted drivers there are on the nation’s highways, the more safe transportation will be. This will also positively affect costs, since a decline in traffic incidents lowers insurance premiums.