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Last month, NHTSA issued guidelines to establish criteria for reducing distraction from electronic devices installed by manufacturers while the vehicle is in motion, but those rules come with some surprising stipulations.
One of those strange recommendations said “dynamic, continuously moving maps are not recommended.” In other words, the navigation display that updates in real-time to show where you are, would just be static. NHTSA recommends that static or near-static maps for the purpose of driving directions are acceptable. But in a way, that essentially eliminates the usefulness of having an in-car sat nav. Imagine driving along using your navigation and not having an idea of how close or far away your turn is.
Another odd statement from NHTSA was that drivers cannot comprehend more than 30 characters of text at a quick glance. Therefore, its recommendation is that infotainment systems should display no more than 30 characters of text at any given time. Scrolling text is also unacceptable. To put that into perspective, it’s difficult to squeeze an entire song and artist title into 30 characters on a single screen display.
Now obviously we acknowledge in today’s world there are a lot more distractions in our vehicles that could hinder our ability to drive. But wouldn’t educating drivers more effectively be a smarter way of resolving the issues?