Friday, 31 May 2013

Feds Issue Guidelines to Limit Distracted Driving


The Department of Transportation recently released voluntary guidelines that call on automakers to restrict motorists’ use of distracting technology in automobiles.  However, the Department of Transportation guidelines are entirely voluntary, and the agency has stopped short of requiring these measures which California personal injury lawyers find very disappointing. 
According to the Department of Transportation guidelines, the federal agency is recommending the establishment of special criteria for technologies that require motorists to take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road to use devices.  The guidelines also include a recommendation that car manufacturers limit the time the a driver can take his eyes off the road to perform a task to just 2 seconds at a time, and 12 seconds in all.
The guidelines also recommend that automakers disable several distracting operations unless the vehicle is in stop or park mode.  These include manual texting, typing text messages, browsing on the Internet, video phoning or video conferencing, displaying text messages, and displaying content from WebPages and social media.
What is encouraging about the guidelines is that they take into consideration the fact that many people are using in-car technology not just to make or receive calls on their cell phones, but also to surf the Internet, make restaurant reservations, update their Facebook pages and Twitter statuses, make video calls and perform other Internet-based activities.  The guidelines however would only apply to built-in devices, like navigational devices that are fitted on the dashboard. 
The guidelines were based on a recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that found that using handheld phones and other communication devices increase accident risks by as much as 3 times.

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