Government Cracking Down On Driving Distractions
February 17, 2012

Government Cracking Down On Driving Distractions

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced new guidelines on Thursday that aim to help drivers operate their vehicle without distraction.

The proposed guidelines would apply to communications, entertainment, information gathering and navigation devices.

“Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America´s roadways — that´s why I´ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages.”

President Obama's 2013 budget request includes $330 million over six years for distracted driving programs that increases awareness of the issue.

Under the guidelines, manufacturers would have to develop electronics in cars that are less inclined to distract the driver or cause "undue distraction by engaging the driver´s eyes or hands for more than a very limited duration while driving."

“We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today´s American drivers,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in a statement. “The guidelines we´re proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want–without disrupting a driver´s attention or sacrificing safety.”

Devices would need a reduction in complexity or tasks length to operate, and would be required to have to operate with one hand only.

The guidelines would also see that drivers are unable to dial numbers while driving, or that drivers be unable to enter an address in a navigation system.

Also, another, stricter, proposal would see devices like smartphones be disabled while a person is driving.

Other devices that would be affected under the second proposal would also include navigation systems and electronic tablets.

A third proposed set of guidelines would see that voice-activated controls be minimized in factory-installed, aftermarket, and portable devices.


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