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According to NHTSA, there were 3,092 deaths related to distracted driving in 2010

Automakers and the U.S. government are going head-to-head over the installation of Internet-enabled devices in automobiles despite safety-related concerns.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has recently expressed concerns over distracted driving, where drivers are using internet-enabled devices (both in-vehicle and not) in their cars instead of focusing on the road.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is a major advocate of the anti-distracted driving campaign, and even proposed the first-ever distracted driving guidelines in February 2012, which challenged automakers to cut the number of in-vehicle entertainment and information electronics. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued these guidelines, which offer criteria for the kinds of electronic devices and number of devices that can be used within a vehicle.

Despite the government's concerns over safety, automakers are not pulling the plug on in-vehicle electronics. In fact, it looks as if automakers are increasing the number of Internet-enabled in-vehicle devices in order to attract new buyers.

For instance, Volkswagen AG's Audi has said that it is the first to provide in-vehicle access to Google Earth and Wi-Fi. Others, including Ford, General Motors and Nissan have advertised vehicles that have easier access to Google, Facebook and Twitter. Such vehicles are already hitting showrooms.


Automakers are able to do this despite the guidelines that LaHood proposed because the guidelines have not recommended exact limits on in-vehicle devices. LaHood isn't looking to cut technology out of vehicles completely, as he demonstrated in December 2011 when the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) tried to ban hands-free calls while driving. LaHood said he wouldn't back it, since the driver can still keep their hands on the wheel.

However, the fact that automakers are continuously adding more distracting technology is what worries LaHood and other transportation officials.

"When you're behind the wheel of a car, anything that takes your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel can be deadly," said LaHood in a statement. "We don't have to choose between safety and technology, but while these devices may offer consumers new tools and features, automakers have a responsibility to ensure they don't divert a driver's attention away from the road."

Automakers say they're working on devices that only require a small amount of driver's attention, like voice recognition. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers even said that drivers are going to use technology in their vehicles whether its in-vehicle or gadgets that weren't meant for autos like smartphones and tablets, so creating safer in-vehicle devices is a better alternative.

Comments are due on LaHood's distracted driving guidelines today. According to NHTSA, there were 3,092 deaths related to distracted driving in 2010.

"If the auto manufacturers focused as much on safety as they do on marketing their products, we would save a lot of lives," said Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairman.

Source: The Detroit News



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RE: OK
By Reclaimer77 on 5/21/2012 3:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Accident rates are steadily going down, so are crash fatalities and serious injury rates. Why now do we need to institute an arbitrary $600 "driver training" program?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transportation_safety...

So basically while adding millions more cars/drivers to our roads, we've also made DRAMATIC improvements in transportation safety. Statistically speaking, drivers have never been MORE competent and safe in this country than they are now.

Obviously in places like Germany I can see the merit in such a program. However in America, where the speed limit is usually 55 MPH, that kind of training is just unnecessary.

quote:
Too many drivers with the attitude that the road belongs to only them that causes so many problems.


Exactly. It's a social/attitude problem. We shouldn't be using Government mandated training to curb social behaviors. How would training people to drive on dirt, as you say, or snow or 120-0 KPH braking weed out aggressive driving behavior exactly? It's not.

It's just sad that every time someone observes a problem, or potential one, the first thing out of their mouths is a Government solution or a host of new laws. Enough already.


RE: OK
By JediJeb on 5/22/2012 5:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't like increased regulations myself, I have to work under tons of them every day since my laboratory works in the environmental field and we have to put up with EPA regs. The problem is, if it is a social/attitude problem, how do we fix it?


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