New Guidelines For Automakers To Deter Distracted Driving

by Stipe, Harper, Laizure, Uselton, Belote, Maxcey & Thetford
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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified and engaged distracted driving as a serious threat to motorists in America. In June of last year, NHTSA released a Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving, a comprehensive initiative involving state and federal regulations, automotive technology and driver behavior.

In April of this year, NHTSA announced guidelines for automakers in the design, installation and function of electronic navigation, entertainment and communication devices in new cars to decrease or eliminate distracted driving caused by these gadgets.

Based on previous data and a newly released study that examines cellular phone use while driving, NHTSA challenges automakers to design and create a safer driving experience. NHTSA notes the following points about distracted driving:

  • On average, text messages require over 23 seconds of driver time and visual attention. NHTSA guidelines call for a time limit off the driving task of no more than two to 12 seconds.
  • Communication tasks like reaching for a phone, searching for a number and dialing the phone increase risk of collision by a factor of three.
  • Hands-free or built-in communications devices also increase the chance of collision. Any task that divides or reduces visual, manual and cognitive attention to the road is distracted driving.

Specifically, NHTSA asks automakers to design in-dash electronic devices that are disabled while the car is not in park. Those devices include:

  • Video functions like conferencing, phoning or entertainment
  • Media display including texts, social media and web content
  • Devices that require manual entry of data or text messaging

Driving without your eyes or attention on the road is dangerous. Wait until stopped to make that call and steer clear of drivers on their cell phones. If injured by a distracted driver, speak with Stipe Harper for dedicated legal service from a personal injury attorney.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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