Tech Review: Ford 911 Assist
It’s 3:00 a.m. and you’ve just finished a grueling night at work.
You load up the truck, turn the key and pull out onto the highway.
It’s a quiet night with barely any traffic. The odd semi rolls by, but other than that, you’re completely alone.
You take a quick scan of the road only to realize conditions aren’t great. Flurries are falling fast and even with your wipers on the highest setting, you struggle to see.
Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, two lights appear and they’re pointed directly at you. A vehicle up ahead has lost control and is swerving all over the road. Before you’ve even had a second to process what’s happening, your crank your wheel hard to the right.
It’s too late. The next thing you know, you’re in the ditch.
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. You’re in a serious collision and there’s no one around to help. You might be driving in a remote area, or maybe you’re too injured to call 911. What do you do?
Situations like this are the reason Ford created 911 Assist.
Here’s How Ford’s 911 Assist Works
Ford 911 Assist is a part of Ford Sync, a series of technologies that help you navigate your entertainment and communication needs with voice commands. This includes things like hands-free calling, Apple CarPlay and a host of other cool benefits.
911 Assist’s job is to call for help when you’ve been in an accident and aren’t able to call yourself. Once the airbags have deployed, 911 Assist will immediately dial a local emergency operator.
What makes this application different from others is that while most systems use third-party calling centers to notify emergency services, Ford’s 911 Assist skips the middle man and makes the call directly, using the driver’s Bluetooth-connected phone.
When the call is answered, a pre-recorded message will play for the operator. If the occupant is able to, they can also communicate with the operator once the message has finished. 911 Assist gives drivers a 10-second window following the accident, in case the driver wants to cancel the call.
Why is 911 Assist Important?
On a positive note, traffic accidents happen less than they use to. In fact, in 2014 — the most recent year Transport Canada’s National Collision Database (NCDB) has information for — the number of motor vehicle fatalities was down 6.0% from 2013. That trend continues for serious injuries too, which a total drop of 9.5% from the previous year.
While this is good news, it’s important to remember that traffic accidents still happen every day. That’s why safety technologies and things like 911 Assist are important. They help us when things go wrong.