Additional Rules Considered to Reduce Driver Distractions

The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood continues his battle against distracted driving. The agency has been a leader in researching the effects of driver distraction and looking for ways to limit Atlanta car accidents caused by distractions in vehicles.

While regulations are currently in place to crack down on phone calls and text messaging, cellphone use in this current era has expanded beyond those uses. Thus, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has targeted "infotainment" in vehicles by proposing guidelines that aim to reduce such activities as checking Facebook accounts and browsing the internet while in moving cars.

Technology Installed by Car Manufacturers

Along with the expansion of rules to regulate the use of cellphones and mobile devices, the DOT is also looking to regulate the distraction risk for electronic devices that are installed in vehicles.

Cars are now equipped with navigation, back-up cameras, voice-activated commands and integrated phone technologies. With car technology improving, the DOT is seeking to work directly with auto manufacturers to make sure that the new features do not cause additional driver distractions.

Purpose of the Guidelines

The Transportation Department is looking at the safety of new features. Some of the goals of the new guidelines are:

  • Ease of use, so tasks can be completed more quickly
  • One-hand operation of devices, so the other hand can remain on the wheel
  • Fewer visual distractions in the driver's field of vision
  • Fewer manual inputs for operation of devices

In order to educate those on the proposed rules, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to spread the word through hearings around the country. The NHTSA is not against technology per se. For example, GPS is generally safer and does not require the distraction of working with folded maps. The goal is that new devices and functionality are used safely in vehicles.

For those who have been injured in a car accident an important first step is to contact a personal injury attorney, who can make sure that your rights are protected.