New Distracted Driver Guidelines Unveiled

According to a recent article published by The Detroit News, the United States Transportation Department has just released a few new guidelines in regards to distracted driving.

As unveiled last Tuesday, car makers are now being discouraged from installing devices that allow drivers to enter text for Internet browsing or text-messaging while on the road. It also goes as far as to recommend they do not install in-car devices that can display Web page content, text messages, or any other similar content.

It is true however, that these new guidelines are simply those- guidelines. They are currently voluntary for carmakers, but that is scheduled to change in three years.

NHTSA has stated, “For existing vehicle models that do not undergo major revisions, NHTSA is not suggesting that the recommendations of these guidelines would be met.”

While the organization had originally proposed a character-based limit for manual text entry, it has ultimately been replaced by their recommendation against any manual text entry by the driver at all. According to NHTSA, it is acceptable, however, to display maps or location information. Photorealistic images or 3D images are being discouraged in this area though.

NHTSA will be unveiling additional guidelines in the future, which will first address cellphone manufacturers and then, later, other device manufacturers.

These new guidelines have been created due to findings regarding the number of people who are killed because of distracted driving. The NHTSA said that the number of people killed in crashed caused by distractions rose in 2011, but fewer were injured. And although many states are implementing new laws regarding cell phone use while driving, the agency has found that driver behavior is not dramatically changing.

According to NHTSA, more than 6,000 people age 16 and older were interviewed by phone for the National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors. Half of these drivers said they answer an incoming call, and about one-quarter will place a call. While it’s true that fewer drivers are willing to make a call while driving compared to 2010, there is hardly any change in those who will answer a call while driving. Out of the drivers surveyed, 40 percent said they never answer calls while driving.

Efforts to ban almost all cellphone use by drivers have not made very much progress.

The National Transportation Safety Board is aiming to ban driver from making both hand-held and hands-free phone calls while on the road.

If you have any questions or concerns about these new guidelines, feel free to contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney. He or she will be more than happy to help.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/Freedigitalphotos

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