The Fed proposed Thursday that auto makers produce connected car radios that require the car is in park before drivers may look up an address on a navigation system, browse the Internet or dial a phone number.
DOT on Distracted DrivingAn exception is voice activated use of any of the above functions, which would not require the car be in park.
A second set of guidelines on aftermarket car products will follow, said the Department of Transportation.
The edict is the first-ever “federally proposed guidelines to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk for in-vehicle electronic devices,” said the agency.
These are voluntary guidelines, but the agency expects that auto makers will fully comply, and in fact, many car makers already follow the guidelines.
The aftermarket is not excluded from the DOT’s radar. A second phase of guidelines will affect aftermarket products such as portable navigation systems as well as “smart phones, electronic tablets and pads, and other mobile communications devices,” said the DOT.
A third set of guidelines may address voice-activated controls to further minimize distraction in factory-installed, aftermarket, and portable devices, said the agency.
As for phase one of the guidelines for auto makers, public comments are invited over the next 60 days and public hearings will be held in March in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C
The phase one guidelines apply specifically to any infotainment/navigation functions “that are not required to safely operate the vehicle.”
“We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today’s American drivers,” said David Strickland, Administrator for NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the arm of the DOT responsible for the guidelines. “The guidelines we’re proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want-without disrupting a driver’s attention or sacrificing safety.”
He also noted that data shows that “the vast majority of crashes occur because of dangerous behavior, including driving drunk, driving while distracted, and driving too fast.”
You can view the full guidelines and DOT press release here.
Source: DOT via The Wall Street Journal