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The proposed guidelines are designed for electronic devices that do not take part in safely operating the vehicle, including devices used for communications, entertainment, information gathering and navigation.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed in the
Federal Register this week guidelines for vehicle manufacturers to help reduce the
distraction of in-vehicle electronic devices. The proposed guidelines
are designed for electronic devices that do not take part in safely
operating the vehicle, including devices used for communications,
entertainment, information gathering and navigation. The National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) guidelines are
recommendations for electronic devices installed in vehicles that
require visual or manual operation.
According to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, "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…These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions
to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages."
The guidelines are geared toward vehicles not weighing more than 10,000
lbs. and are a first in a series of guidance documents NHTSA plans to
release regarding distracted driving.
The proposed Phase I distraction guidelines include recommendations to:
Reduce complexity and task length required by the device;
Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle);
Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view;
Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.
NHTSA is currently considering Phase II guidelines for the future that
would include devices or systems not built into the vehicle. This would
include aftermarket and portable personal electronic devices such as
navigation systems, smartphones, electronic tablets and pads, among
other mobile communications devices.
More proposed guidelines (Phase
III) could address voice-activated controls to further minimize
distraction in factory-installed, aftermarket and portable devices.