DETROIT (AP) — Ford Motor Co. spent $1.43 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on bills that would promote electric vehicles and reduce federal highway funds to states that don't ban texting while driving.
That's about the same amount the automaker spent in the second quarter but less than the $1.75 million Ford spent in the third quarter of 2009.
Driver distraction is a critical issue for Ford and other automakers, which must balance the continuing technological upgrades in their vehicles with drivers' need to keep their eyes on the road. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted in September that automakers are adding in-vehicle technology that allows drivers to update their Facebook page, surf the Internet "or do any number of other things instead of driving safely."
Ford also lobbied for tax credits for advanced automotive technology research and programs that would promote electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and natural gas vehicles.
Trade issues also figured prominently in Ford's third-quarter lobbying. Ford supports a recently reached free-trade agreement with South Korea which would loosen restrictions on U.S. auto imports to that country. Ford also lobbied the government on Japanese currency manipulation and tariffs on Chinese-made tires.
Ziad Ojakli, the former chief Senate liaison to President Bush, is among those registered to lobby for Ford, according to the report filed Oct. 19.