US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the first-ever federally proposed guidelines for in-vehicle electronic devices to automakers, hoping to limit how distracted drivers can get by these new devices.
The proposed voluntary guidelines affects communications, entertainment, information gathering, and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safety operate a vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued out the guidelines hoping to establish a criteria for electronic devices installed by the manufacturer that require visual or manual operation by drivers.
“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,” said Secretary LaHood. “These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages.”
These new guidelines are the first in a series of guidance documents NHTSA is planning to issue, hoping to limit the use of distracting technology that requires the use of hands and/or diverting the eyes from the road. Some of the recommendations released in the first set of guidelines including limiting the device operation to one hand only. limiting unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view, and limiting individual off-road glances to no more than two seconds in duration.
In addition, it also recommends the disabling of operations such as visual-manual text messaging, internet browsing, social media browsing, 10-digit phone dialing, and displaying more than 30 characters of unrelated driving text.
NHTSA hopes to release a future phase that will have guidelines for aftermarket components such as portable electronic devices or navigation units, while a third phase will address voice-activated controls.