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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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RE: Consolidate controls
By Keeir on 2/17/2012 7:01:27 PM , Rating: 2
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.

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?

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
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?
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?

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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