Distracted driving is a topic that’s on everybody’s minds these days, and for good reason. Every new car and truck sold today is packed with more technology than every before, from touchscreen LCDs that offer myriad audio and infotainment options to voice-controlled applications and various forms of smartphone integration.
It comes as little surprise, then, that U.S. Department of Transportation head Ray LaHood has announced a new set of proposed distracted driving guidelines for automakers that would limit the use of in-car tech solutions that are “not directly relevant to safely operating the vehicle, or cause undue distraction by engaging the driver’s eyes or hands for more than a very limited duration while driving.”
Specifically, DOT is recommending that automakers not introduce technology packages that require both hands to operate or that could take a driver’s eyes from the road for more than two seconds. Further, DOT wants technologies that require detailed input from the driver to be disabled while the car is out of park. That would include text messaging and internet browsing along with such tasks as address entry into navigation systems and manual phone dialing.
Future guidelines may include recommendations to manufacturers of aftermarket devices like smartphones, portable GPS units and tablet computers. It’s important to note that these guidelines are recommendations, not mandates. Feel free to read the entire press release, which includes specific guidelines, after the break. The public will have 60 days to comment on this proposal before final guidelines are drafted.