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Guidelines announced to reduce driving distractions

It appears that the devices that were introduced to avoid frustration and make life easier are the same devices that are leading to car and truck accidents. Now, to try and combat the increasing number of drivers who are killed in distracted driving accidents, the Transportation Department has announced some guidelines aimed at vehicle manufacturers to limit the function of navigation systems.

Right now, drivers can become easily distracted by typing an address into a GPS, or checking their email while driving. However, if these guidelines are accepted, the devices in vehicles would be changed to encourage either very quick use, or voice-command.

The guidelines were put forth by the U.S. Transportation Department, which is the federal administration that oversees the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If these guidelines are accepted, when a vehicle is in motion, infotainment tasks, such as looking at social media accounts and receiving incoming messages, would be limited to two second glances. One of the driver's hands would also be required to stay on the steering wheel. Tasks falling outside of these guidelines would not be able to be completed unless the car was stopped.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood listed off several goals of these guidelines, including reducing how much time it takes to use devices, and the complexity of those devices. The department would also like to see unnecessary visual information be limited to the driver.

In 2010, an estimated 3,000 people were killed on U.S. roadways due to a distracted driver. The hope is that guidelines like these will encourage people to pre-program devices before driving, and to pull over if a message or matter is urgent.


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