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  (Source: intomobile.com)
Automakers would have to rethink the kind of electronic devices and the number of these devices used within a vehicle

The first guidelines for reducing distracted driving were proposed by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood yesterday, where automakers would be challenged to cut the number of in-vehicle entertainment and information electronics.

"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," said LaHood. "These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the new guidelines, which are the very first of their kind. They aim to offer recommended criteria for the kind of electronic devices and the number of these devices used within a vehicle.

The proposed guidelines are currently in Phase l, which applies to light vehicles like cars, pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs. Phase l recommends guidelines that help automakers use electronics that are less likely to distract the driver with tasks that are not associated with the operation of the vehicle, and the use of electronics that won't require the driver's sight and touch for long periods of time.

The exact guidelines for Phase l include the following: reduce complexity and task length required by the device; limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration; limit device operation to one hand only; limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation, and limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view.

The Phase l guidelines also recommend that certain in-vehicle features be disabled to the driver, except when the car is in park: visual-manual text messaging; visual-manual social media browsing; visual-manual Internet browsing; visual-manual 10-digit phone dialing; visual-manual navigation system destination entry by address, and the display of more than 30 characters of text to the driver that is unrelated to driving the vehicle.

NHTSA is already looking ahead to Phase ll and Phase lll guidelines, which will take an in-depth look at electronics that are distractions in vehicles, yet not part of the vehicles, like smartphones and tablets. Phase lll is expected to look into voice-activated controls.

LaHood is known for his support for ridding distracted driving, but said he isn't looking to ban electronics in vehicles entirely. Back in December 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) pushed for a ban on hands-free calls while driving in order to reduce distracted driving, and LaHood said he wouldn't back it.

Source: United States Department of Transportation



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Consolidate controls
By danjw1 on 2/17/2012 10:57:09 AM , Rating: 2
Any control not directly related to driving (steering wheel, brake and accelerator), should be in a single cluster. This is the direction that aircraft are going.

Anything that can be automated should be automated. Running lights should come on whenever the car is started, headlights should be turned on when it is dark (like when entering a tunnel), windshield wipers should start when it starts raining. I would even suggest that when using the a navigation system that the turn signal be automated, with the ability to apply it manual where needed.

As far as the infotainment, that all needs to be voice controlled, with audio prompts. That way the driver can pay attention to the road instead of looking to see what song is playing.




RE: Consolidate controls
By ebakke on 2/17/2012 11:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
Many of them are offered on higher trim levels (running lights, headlights, and wiper suggestions for example). And Ford's SYNC has been voice controlling infotainment for a while. In short, your ideas aren't bad, they just cost money.


RE: Consolidate controls
By danjw1 on 2/17/2012 11:25:42 AM , Rating: 2
I know but mass production does bring down costs. If you install something in every car you make, you get economies of scale. But yes it will add some to the cost of the car. Really, we just need to take the driver out of the equation, with automated vehicles. :-)


RE: Consolidate controls
By danjw1 on 2/17/2012 11:31:23 AM , Rating: 2
On that last point, Nevada just approved rules for automated vehicles on their roads. This is just for test vehicles, but other states are considering such laws as well. So we may not be that far away.

Personally, I can't wait until I can read my kindle on my drive to work. :-)


RE: Consolidate controls
By jRaskell on 2/17/2012 4:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Personally, I can't wait until I can read my kindle on my drive to work. :-)


Sadly, I've seen examples of people that aren't waiting.


RE: Consolidate controls
By JonnyDough on 2/18/2012 3:48:16 PM , Rating: 2
What we need are personal monorail cars. Forget roads, they take up too much space and have a very negative environmental impact. We can have more economical and safer travel, while maintaining our individuality. Why do we need cars? Answer: We don't. For those who still want to drive, there are always race tracks. People are too afraid of change, the railroad was met with the same fear and doubt - but it helped bring industrialization to America. Of course, that had a very negative impact upon the environment. A modern monorail would have a very positive impact. Roads are horrible. Just think of all the animals killed, the hazardous waste leaked off of wrecked vehicles and chemical trucks, and the tires and oil leaked, tossed, burned everywhere...

Want to get rid of foreign oil? Modern magnetic levitation monorail. There's your answer.


RE: Consolidate controls
By Rukkian on 2/20/2012 10:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
I assume this was a joke, but here is my response anyways.

The biggest issue I see with that is the 1mil per person cost to build all of it. Those tracks, trains, etc need to be paid for by somebody, and with the government already running such a huge deficit, I just don't see how it would even be possible.

Why not just go for jet packs or transporters (ala star trek!). Either would be just as likely to get done.


RE: Consolidate controls
By FITCamaro on 2/17/2012 11:37:09 AM , Rating: 5
Maybe you want that crap because you can't multitask, but some of us don't. I'm perfectly capable of turning on my own headlights. Or selecting a radio station. Or turning on the windshield wipers.

Some of us want a simple, light car that doesn't break much. And when it does, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to fix because of all the techno crap in the car so that idiots don't have to do anything.


RE: Consolidate controls
By Dr of crap on 2/17/2012 1:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you,
you know there are those people out there that just thinking is a HUGH struggle for them and don't make them think and drive!

So for those we NEED the car to help them out as much as possible!


RE: Consolidate controls
By FITCamaro on 2/18/2012 7:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
Or let natural selection take its course.


RE: Consolidate controls
By Rukkian on 2/20/2012 10:42:07 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, that does not work, because there are plenty of times that an attentive and reasonable driver has been hit by one of the many idiots along the road.

Maybe some sort of IQ test to get a car that has some manual controls, or to even get a license?


RE: Consolidate controls
By drycrust3 on 2/17/2012 3:35:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'm perfectly capable of turning on my own headlights.

One of the problems people have is they judge themselves by what they consider to be their normal behaviour, which constantly changes, and not their total behaviour. Our normal behaviour fits into the famous bell shaped curve, and this means 68% of the time we are within one standard deviation of the mean, and 32% of the time we are outside of "normal".
One of the first essentials of road safety is to regard every death as avoidable, and the second essential is to consider every death is the result of too loose an interpretation of the road rules. So the trick is to make our second and third standard deviations points to be still less than the point at which the driving standards are actually hazardous.
We all know that alcohol is a contributing factor in many road deaths, and the reason is because it causes drivers to use looser interpretations of the road rules than they normally drive with.
We all accept that the reliability of cars went up when the manufacturers built the cars to tighter standard deviation tolerances, and the same applies to car crashes and road fatalities: by tightening up the standards we reduce road deaths.
When the police have a relaxed attitude towards violating road rules, then there will be more fatalities and crashes than if the police apply strict standards towards road rules because most drivers drive to the loosest tolerances they can get away with, not to the tightest tolerances they can attain.
The problem with your comment is it isn't so much what you are capable of that counts, it's much more what you forget that counts. I think most road deaths involve people that know the road rules that were loosely interpreted. If you forget to keep a safe following distance, then you could easily hit the car in front; if you forget to look for two green lights when the lights change, then maybe that flash of green isn't meant for you; if you run across the road then you could be hit by a vehicle; etc.
This is where light sensor activated headlights come in. They judge the ambient light by more or less unchanging standards, and when the light is getting to the point where a vehicle is starting to becoming a hazard on the road then it will turn the car lights on. They don't care whether the driver remembers or forgets about the light conditions, they turn the lights of the car on.


RE: Consolidate controls
By Keeir on 2/17/2012 7:01:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
One of the first essentials of road safety is to regard every death as avoidable, and the second essential is to consider every death is the result of too loose an interpretation of the road rules.


What. Are. You. Talking. About.

I am sorry. This is grade A idealistic drivel.

Safety is simply ensuring that all reasonable steps are taken to reduce fatalities or injuries to the lowest level.

Not every death is "avoidable". Many deaths occur due to natural forces or situations outside of rules to control. Or engineering issues beyond prediction.

quote:
When the police have a relaxed attitude towards violating road rules, then there will be more fatalities and crashes than if the police apply strict standards towards road rules because most drivers drive to the loosest tolerances they can get away with, not to the tightest tolerances they can attain.


Maybe some data?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_traffic_safety#S...

quote:
This is where light sensor activated headlights come in. They judge the ambient light by more or less unchanging standards, and when the light is getting to the point where a vehicle is starting to becoming a hazard on the road then it will turn the car lights on. They don't care whether the driver remembers or forgets about the light conditions, they turn the lights of the car on.


Unless the light bulb is out. The sensor is out. The wiring between them is out. They don't adjust to different situations either...

Do they adjust them depending on the color of your car? Or how about the color of your car versus weather conditions? Or road conditions?

I understand your arguement. Automatic lights will increase the percentage of "correct" light usage. But that's only half the equation.... its whether the cost in mandating, setting the standards, and end price to consumer justify the potential for increased "correct" light usage.

If we accept you first two statements, cars will end up costing 100,000s to own and operate...


RE: Consolidate controls
By drycrust3 on 2/17/2012 10:51:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am sorry. This is grade A idealistic drivel.

The people that built motor cars up until the 1990s said the same thing reliability. They said motor cars had to be unreliable and to think otherwise was "A grade idealistic drivel". The people that built radios and TVs with valves in them would have said the same as well whenever reliability was discussed.
Nowadays no one would consider accepting car or radio or TV unreliability as normal.
By accepting road deaths as "normal" we assume there is nothing we can do to fix the problem, but already the facts prove we are fixing the problem.
In New Zealand, where I live, in 2006, we had our lowest death toll in 50 years, but over the last 10 years the road toll has been lower than at any other time in that 50 years.
One reason for this is the police have been much more strict in their intolerance towards drink driving, but that is just one reason. Other reasons are things like better built cars and speed cameras.
Just like the improved reliability of motor cars and TVs, there is on one silver bullet to the lowering of the road death toll. Only by constantly improving things like cars, roads, road rules, and most important of all, by raising the minimum standard of acceptable driving, will the road toll get lower.
Sure, a death toll of nil is unobtainable now, but that doesn't mean it is totally impossible, it just means it is unobtainable now.
You, for example, could start by driving to tighter tolerances. Are you pretty casual about your interpretation of the speed limit and your minimum following distance? Why not "raise the bar" and try to keep to the speed limit and the recommended following distances?
quote:
Unless the light bulb is out. The sensor is out. The wiring between them is out. They don't adjust to different situations either...

Why not go the whole hog and say someone let off a nuclear bomb high over America and the Electro Magnetic Pulse fried every solid state device in North America?


RE: Consolidate controls
By FITCamaro on 2/18/2012 7:14:35 PM , Rating: 1
I have a feeling you also love to hear yourself talk. Because you sure like to read what you say.

This post reminds me of Billy Madison.

May god have mercy on your soul.


RE: Consolidate controls
By drycrust3 on 2/18/2012 9:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have a feeling you also love to hear yourself talk. Because you sure like to read what you say.

No, I like to read what other people say about what I've written. A logical part of scientific debate is the right to criticise, and if I don't read that then I won't learn. Would you prefer I ignore when people negatively comment on what I write? What would I learn? How will I know when I've goofed? They could present excellent reasons why I've goofed, but it would all be lost because I'm trying to please you and wouldn't have read it.
If we consider this subject, I am a bus driver, which means I am a professional driver, and as such I believe I have as much right to comment on this subject as anyone else, and I have a larger amount of practical experience than most of the people commenting on here, and I sincerely believe that deaths on the road are unnecessary.
Would you prefer it if I didn't think like that? What sort of Christian would I be if I just thought that? I think I'd be a pretty heartless Christian. If I just thought that careless driving is the primary cause of road deaths, what difference would that make to the world? None! Would just thinking about this reduce the road toll? Nope! But by getting out and expressing my opinions in a scientific forum then maybe people will start to think of road deaths as a type of system failure, and just as with any other unreliable system, by using the right techniques you can improve the reliability (i.e. reduce road deaths).
As I said, they did it with TVs and they did it with cars, so there isn't any reason they can't do the same with road deaths. As we saw with motor cars, it required tightening up the standards to which cars were built. The same applies to road deaths: drivers will need to drive better in order to save lives.


Fallacious
By Stuka on 2/17/2012 10:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
God himself made us idiots whom randomly kill each other for no reason. But, this guy has a BS from Bradley University, so he can fix God's mistake. Imagine what an MBA from Kansas City Eastside College could accomplish.




RE: Fallacious
By The Raven on 2/17/2012 10:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
I think you mean fellacious, as in these people will be fellating themselves when the number of crashes is reduced and they take the credit rather than the population just getting used to the new technology. It is just like when people were screaming "VD" after all the love ins were going on. Did we need the gov't to tell us who we could have sex with? No, we just learned that we were at risk and the new 'fad' of careless free love kinda just went away.

Phone makers will continue to make phone easier to use and they will therefore get safer to use and reduce distracted driving accidents. But in the end Ray, Obama and any other politician pushing this crap will pat himself on the back. On the other hand at least he pushed back on the moronic all out phone ban idea.


RE: Fallacious
By LRonaldHubbs on 2/17/2012 10:53:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the new 'fad' of careless free love kinda just went away

o rly?


RE: Fallacious
By masamasa on 2/17/2012 11:15:58 AM , Rating: 3
What god? There is no god...it's one big cult!


RE: Fallacious
By Camikazi on 2/18/2012 12:54:32 PM , Rating: 3
Got proof your god made us at all? :P Last I checked my mother and father made me, and their mothers and fathers made them. If you think about it the entire purpose of humans and our existence seems to be to fix your gods errors in the first place. Every single advancement we make is to fix a deficiency your god added for no reason other then to have something fun to watch when bored. Your god is sadistic and not so nice, I'm glad we are working to get rid of his private sitcom.


Enforcement of the laws
By jimbojimbo on 2/17/2012 11:19:49 AM , Rating: 2
I just want the Chicago cops to enforce the laws more strictly so they don't have to keep raising my taxes. They may have given out record numbers of tickets for driving while talking on a cell phone but I still see a HUGE percent of drivers still on their phones like nothing's wrong. I usually notice them because they're driving like a-holes and then when I look they of course have a phone pressed to their head or in front of their face as if that's any better.




RE: Enforcement of the laws
By FITCamaro on 2/17/2012 11:37:46 AM , Rating: 1
Here's a thought. Move out of the rustbelt.


LOL!!
By kattanna on 2/17/2012 11:01:01 AM , Rating: 2
that cartoon at the top is awesome




Low bar for safety, no?
By The Raven on 2/17/2012 12:52:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
Isn't the bar being set too low here? I never take my eyes off of the road for more than a second. These people should be responsible for condoning such careless behavior. I guess it is like when you hear about people flying off the side of an on ramp because they were going the posted recommended speed limit (yellow signs) instead of what was safe for conditions. People are not thinking for themselves anymore, and with this top down mentality in DC, I can understand why we are trending so.




By Mike Acker on 2/20/2012 10:02:58 AM , Rating: 2
Distracted driving includes cheeseburgers, coffee, pop, newspapers, cellphones ( not just texting ) AND : the Auto Console

Look into some of the consoles in new cars: these are 50 times worse than texting

The driver controls should all be operable by feel; otherwise they are a distraction.

I agree completely on the automatic lights: idiots running in twilight or rain without lights are very dangerous




By Boingo Twang on 2/20/2012 1:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
The car is no place for texting or phone calling. I don't think we should even have audio devices of any kind in cars. If our roads weren't so straight and boring people might be more interested in actually driving their cars instead of seeking distraction from the crushing boredom and pain of driving.

If you want to be entertained or read a book then take a bus or a train...oh wait the various corporate forces and cranky right wingers and the highway and automobile lobbies have pretty much destroyed all forms of good mass transit in the USA haven't they?




By Beenthere on 2/17/2012 11:16:24 AM , Rating: 1
We have an epidemic of stupidity in the U.S. when it comes to proper driving. Most people can't back out of their driveway without having an accident.

Anyone who choses to drive while texting or talking on their phone, should have it rammed up their arse about three feet so they get a clue. It's bad enough that most people have no driving skills at all, then they want to compound the problem further by talking, texting or doing other inappropriate distractive behavior while careening down the roadway.

Last night I saw an ambulence driver yacking on their phone and wandering all over the road like a drunk. This morning a dumb bitch almost crashed into my car while she was B.S.ing on her phone. These people should be hung by their thumbs for a month until they get a friggin clue.




Go Away
By ebakke on 2/17/12, Rating: -1
RE: Go Away
By Arsynic on 2/17/2012 11:14:52 AM , Rating: 2
I would feel the same way if these were rules, but they are guidelines, suggestions if you will.

However, I don't think it takes government to bring up the obvious. Even my GPS warns me when I try to use it when the car's moving.


RE: Go Away
By Reclaimer77 on 2/17/2012 12:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would feel the same way if these were rules, but they are guidelines, suggestions if you will.


They all start as "suggestions".

This will lead to a law, or more likely several. The OP is right. Enough is enough. Let the automakers make the cars that the people want, equipped with what they want. And stop using silly safety arguments and accidents as an excuse to extend federal power.


RE: Go Away
By mherlund on 2/17/2012 1:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, I don't think it takes government to bring up the obvious. Even my GPS warns me when I try to use it when the car's moving.

You don't think it does that because some rule set by some government said it had to?


RE: Go Away
By ebakke on 2/19/2012 1:16:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would feel the same way if these were rules, but they are guidelines, suggestions if you will.
So you'd be mad if they were making rules but you're ok with paying for the salaries/benefits/retirement for a bunch of people to go around making suggestions that have no teeth?

No matter how you slice it, this still sucks. Either you're giving up freedom and letting the feds make more decisions for you, or you're just paying some people to do busy work.


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