Altering Electronic Devices to Help End Distracted Driving
We all know distracted driving is a huge problem in Georgia. The use of cell phones, GPS devices and other technology while driving highly increases the chance of getting into an accident. That’s why the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed voluntary guidelines for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured to limit the distraction these devices have on drivers.
These guidelines would apply to communications, entertainment, information gathering and navigation devices that require drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel or their eyes from the road to operate the device. The NHTSA hopes to encourage manufactures to make these electronic devices less likely to distract the driver.
“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 U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages.”
The proposed guidelines apply only to devices not directly related to driving the vehicle or to the vehicle’s safe operation, so any kind of collision alert systems would not be affected. Below is a list of some of the suggestions recently released by the NHTSA:
Reduce the complexity and task length required by the device;
- Limit the device’s operation to one hand only, so the driver can leave the other hand on the steering wheel to control the vehicle;
- Limit individual off-road glances required to operate the device to no more than two seconds in duration;
- Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of vision; and
- Limit the amount of inputs the driver has to manually enter into the device to operate it.
The NHTSA also suggests disabling electronic devices from performing certain functions while they are in the vehicle. The following tasks would be completely disabled unless the device was being used by a passenger in a way that didn’t distract the driver, or when the car is stopped and in park:
- Reading or writing text messages;
- Browsing the internet;
- Using social media;
- Entering addresses into a GPS navigation system;
- Entering 10 digit phone numbers manually into a phone; and
- Displaying to the driver more than 30 characters of text unrelated to the driving task.
I am glad to see that attempts are being taken to reduce distracted driving. While many drivers realize that texting while driving can be extremely distracting and dangerous, many people don’t realize that installed electronic devices in their vehicles can be just as bad. Changing a song on on your MP3 player or entering an address into your GPS is just as distracting, but since many of these devices are part of their car, drivers don’t realize that what they’re doing is taking their eyes off of the road and their hands off of their steering wheel. I support the NHTSA’s proposal that manufactures do whatever they can to increase the safety of these devices and minimize their opportunity for distraction.
Ty Wilson is an Atlanta car accident lawyer and strives to always provide the public with FREE information on the topic of car accident claims in Georgia. Go to tywilsonlaw.com and check out his many articles and videos. While you’re there, download his FREE books!
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