A man who helped design an ingenious car feature reads a letter from a guy it saved.

No one likes to imagine what would happen if they were in a serious car accident.

Chances are that most of us will get into some sort of collision at some point, whether minor or more serious. Estimates from the car insurance industry say collisions happen to most longtime drivers three to four times during their driving lifetimes.

Fortunately for us, there are people like David Hatton who have devoted their career to developing technology to provide drivers peace of mind.


David and his team at Ford have created a feature called SYNC 911 Assist® to change how car accidents are communicated to and handled by authorities — for good. 

With the 911 Assist® feature, you don't have to call 911 in the event of a collision. Instead, your car calls for you.

Imagine you're driving to meet an old high school friend for dinner. Another driver runs a red light and plows into you, and your airbags deploy. You are scared, disoriented, maybe even injured — and the only way to get help is to hope someone saw the accident and will call 911 or to find your phone and call for help yourself. 

With SYNC 911 Assist®, instead of having to find a phone to dial 911 for help, the information about your collision is instantly delivered through your car's Bluetooth system: where you're located, what part of your car was affected, even how many seat belts were in use. It'll connect you directly to a 911 operator — no effort on your end required.

If your Bluetooth® is turned off, SYNC can turn it on. If your "Do Not Disturb" setting is on and your phone is offline, it will look for any previously paired phone that was connected to the system. Ford engineers looked at scenarios that could go wrong and engineered SYNC 911 Assist® to make them go right.

SYNC 911 Assist® in action. All images via Ford, used with permission.

It's making a huge impact.

Since SYNC 911 Assist® launched, Hatton has been receiving letters from people thanking him for his work — letters such as this one, from a gentleman in Texas: 

"I live in rural, central Texas with beautiful country, rolling fields and low water crossings. 

I cannot remember the events of the accident that nearly killed me. After an impact to my head the next thing I remembered was waking up in an Austin hospital. I was told my car was upside down in a river and filling up with water when I was pulled out. If Sync had not dialed 911 I would certainly have perished at the bottom of that river."

David Hatton reading a letter from a Ford owner who benefited from SYNC 911 Assist®.

Your vehicle directly contacting 911 is a new standard in road safety — one that makes a lot of sense.

Before this system was developed, a 911 call would be directed through a call center before actually reaching a 911 operator. Anyone who has been in an emergency situation knows that can take time — time that, in some cases, can make all the difference.

Getting in a car wreck is an unexpected and scary experience. Anything that can get help where it's needed faster is a huge step in the right direction.

SYNC 911 Assist® is an inspiring example of how passionate people and companies can create technology that makes our lives better.​

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BXGD / Flickr and Cody Bondarchuk / Twitter

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