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One Text or Call Could Wreck It All

Unfortunately, distracted driving is not a passing fad. It has become a trend with deadly, real consequences.

For anyone who thinks they can talk on their phone, text, apply make-up, or do any other distracting activity while driving, it’s time for a crash course in reality from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and approximately 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to be involved in a serious crash. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (age 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. (NHTSA)
  • Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of driv­ers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. (NHTSA).

While those numbers may sound like just statistics, they’re anything but.  They could be parents, children, neighbors and friends from right here on BF.c.  There are too many sad tales of deaths and injuries that could have been prevented had drivers been paying attention to the road instead of someone or something else.

So, why do so many people participate in this dangerous behavior?  With more technology now than ever, driver distractions have risen to unprecedented levels.  We live in a world where people expect instant, real-time information 24 hours a day, and those expectations don’t stop just because someone gets behind the wheel.  Drivers still do not realize – or choose to ignore – the danger they create when they take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, and their focus off driving.

People often say, “I can do two things at once.  I’ve memorized where the numbers are on my phone, so I don’t have to look.” Or, “Sending or reading one text is pretty quick – that should be okay.”  They couldn’t be more wrong.

For those who think they can do two things at once, think about this: According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones. Driving is an activity that requires your full attention and focus in order to keep yourself and others safe.

Yes, this is a national problem, but it also affects us right here on BF.c.  No one is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. So please remember: One text or call could wreck it all.

www.distraction.gov – The Official U.S. Government Site for Distracted Driving

Amazon’s Alexa now speaks to your BMW

Amazon Alexa brings BMW Connected into your home.
“With the availability of BMW Connected as an Alexa skill in USA, customers will for the first time be able to manage their personal mobility agenda and operate vehicle from their homes. The integration between Alexa and BMW Connected is underlining BMW’s promise to constantly integrate BMW Connected into new touch-points and to expand its digital services,” says Dieter May, Senior Vice President Digital Services and Business Models at BMW Group.

The first version of BMW Connected, available in the U.S. since March 2016, focused primarily on journey management and remote services. Now, BMW Connected is literally coming home. With the availability of BMW Connected as an Alexa skill on all Alexa-enabled devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, it is now possible to use voice commands to check the vehicle’s battery charge and fuel level, for example, as well as lock the vehicle remotely. The BMW Connected Alexa skill allows users to learn about their next scheduled trip, find out what time to leave, and send the destination to their BMW.

“We’re excited to work with BMW to bring their Alexa skill to customers,” said Rob Pulciani, Director, Amazon Alexa. “Never before have BMW and Alexa users been able to control their connected cars using hands-free voice control from their home — and now with the BMW Alexa skill, customers can use Alexa voice technology to lock their car doors, check their fuel level, and more without lifting a finger. We can’t wait for customers to try it out.”

The skill works by using the activation word “Alexa,” followed by the invocation name “BMW,” which allows users to access the relevant functions, e.g. “Alexa, ask BMW when I should leave for my next appointment.” The vision of BMW Connected integrated with Alexa was first revealed earlier this year at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. The vision has now become a reality, and we expect to continue to release more innovative Alexa updates in the coming months. Today, users in the U.S. can access BMW Connected through enabling the Alexa skill and linking their BMW Connected account in the Amazon Alexa app.

The All-New 2017 BMW 5 Series

The formula for success continues with the 7th generation of the most successful premium sedan, the all-new BMW 5 Series.  Over 7.6 million BMW 5 Series have been sold worldwide since 1972 and since 1975 over 1 million units in the U.S. alone. The 2017 BMW 5 Series has been entirely newly developed allowing for a significant weight loss of up to 137 lbs with the use of magnesium, aluminum and high-strength steel. Thanks to the available state of the art chassis systems including Integral Active Steering now in conjunction with xDrive (BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system), Driver and Parking Assistance Systems and Adaptive Mode including Dynamic Damper Control, the all-new BMW 5 Series once more defines the athletic and executive design of a true sport sedan. Featuring a new user interface (iDrive 6.0), Gesture Control, the latest generation of Head-Up Display, Remote 3D View and an improved Voice Control with natural voice input, the 2017 BMW 5 Series marks a new era of personalized connectivity. The BMW 5 Series is the most innovative BMW 5 Series to date, combining unique driving dynamics using Remote Control Parking and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems clearing the way towards semi-automated driving.

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