Print 17 comment(s) - last by pandemonium.. on Apr 27 at 2:56 AM

This is just Phase 1 of 3

Distracted driving guidelines have been released in an effort to make auto manufacturers aware of the risks and push them to limit devices associated with distracted driving.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released the guidelines -- which were issued by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) -- with recommendations on how and when a driver should interact with certain electronic devices. The recommendations relate to the findings of a new NHTSA naturalistic driving study called "The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk."

According to recommendations in the guidelines, a driver should only take their eyes off the road to perform any task for about two seconds at a time, and twelve seconds total.

Also, certain tasks should not be carried out within a vehicle unless it is stopped and parked, including text entry for text messaging and browsing the Web; watching videos; video phoning/conferencing and reading text from either text messages, social media sites, etc. 

NHTSA changed its recommendation to the ban of text from "books, periodical publications, Web page content, social media content, text-based advertising and marketing, or text-based messages."

The new guidelines also stated a couple of controversial topics. They state that maps should not include 'three-dimensional, photographic, full location scenery, and/or satellite images' (even though Audi, BMW and Tesla provide navigation systems with satellite imagery) and that cabin electronics like stereos should show no more than 30 characters on a text display (but this was based on Kanji characters, 30 of which translate to an English sentence of 120 characters).

As far as the NHTSA study goes, it found the following: visual-manual tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times; Web browsing, text messaging, and phone dialing resulted in the longest duration of driver's taking their eyes-off-road; text messaging alone upped the risk of a crash or near-crash by two times and resulted in the driver's eyes off the road for 23.3 seconds, and visual-manual activities performed when completing a phone call (reaching for a phone, looking up a contact and dialing the number) increased the crash risk by three times.

The study noted that it did not find a direct risk for increased crash from talking on a cell phone. But it did mention that actions involved with using a phone made its overall use 1.73 times more risky. It even said hands-free and in-vehicle hands-free cell phone use was found to involve visual-manual tasks at least 50 percent of the time.
"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. "These guidelines recognize that today's drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives."

NHTSA will release two more sets of guidelines for distracted driving in the future: Phase 2, which will cover portable electronic devices brought into vehicles, and Phase 3, which will cover voice recognition systems in cars. 

Source: NHTSA

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How long ?
By M'n'M on 4/24/2013 3:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
a driver should only take their eyes off the road to perform any task for about two seconds at a time, and twelve seconds total.

I find 2 secs to be an awfully long time. If you're following someone at the recommended 1.5 - 2 secs behind them (a guideline most people don't follow) and they brake while you're looking at the scenery, your braking will have to be harder than normal as a result. The result is the moron tailgating you (even if they aren't texting) will rear-end you.

And 12 secs total ? Huh ? 12 secs per trip ? per mile ? per lifetime ? Oh, they mean no task should take more than 12 seconds total.

RE: How long ?
By lelias2k on 4/24/13, Rating: -1
RE: How long ?
By M'n'M on 4/24/2013 7:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I tend to be one of the faster cars on the highway, having had nothing but sports cars for the last 30+ years and raced SCCA D production class waaay back when.

Have a good look around next time you're driving. You'll see cars, 3 or 4 deep, all drafting NASCAR style in the middle and right lanes of the highway even when the left lane is open. You'd think they'd pull out and pass but nope, they're lazy drivers using the car in front of them as a form of cruise control.

FWIW it's usually a good idea to make sure of your facts before going on a rant. That way you'll look like less of a ass, though perhaps in your case that's just unavoidable.

RE: How long ?
By Flunk on 4/25/2013 9:06:05 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think they're doing it because they understand drafting. I think they just don't know how to drive and think it's normal to be so close to the car in front that if it brakes hard they slam into it and die. Where I live these guys also fill up the left hand lane and drive about 5 under the speed limit.

This is one of my pet peeves too, there is absolutely no reason to tailgate, you're not going to get there faster and you might just get in an accident that could easily be avoided.

I'm not that fast a driver (10km/h-20km/h over at most) but I don't like being tailgated in the right hand lane by some mouth-breather. You want to go faster, pass me. I'm thinking of investing in a light-up "back off" sign for my rear window.

RE: How long ?
By pandemonium on 4/27/2013 2:35:40 AM , Rating: 2
People have the flock mentality for the most part, and this is part of where distractive driving is going. Most people go on an autopilot driving style, and it's usually due to being distracted by thought, gadgets, radio, conversation, et al.: where they don't pass people even though lanes are open to do so.

I drive about 15,000 miles a year, and a lot of that is mullti-lane interstate. I always use my cruise control when I'm not hindered by traffic in front of me, and almost every single instance I'm in multi-lane traffic and someone is in the left lane (either coming up to me or I'm coming up to them), they slow down or speed up and match my speed. It really, really pisses me off, because if they're coming from behind me they'll usually sit in my blind spot, adjusting their speed to mine. That's an absolutely terrible habit to have. So then when I finally have to pass someone, they're sitting right there and I have to either speed up and go around their left-lane hogging butt, or get behind them and go 5mph under the speed limit up every hill and 15mph over the speed limit down every hill.

People in this country are terrible at driving with respect to others. That's all there is to it. Distracted driving simply exacerbates the issue.

I also see tons of people riding very closely on 2 lane highways, however, they'll never pass even when the opportunity presents itself. As if riding someone's butt isn't dangerous?

RE: How long ?
By SigmundEXactos on 4/25/2013 11:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
I was always taught 3-4 seconds behind the person in front of you at highway speeds. It takes 1/2-3/4 of a second to react, 1/2-3/4 of a second to move your foot to the break pedal and depress it enough to start decelerating, and during that 1-1.5 seconds the car in front has been hard breaking, probably already at a stop.

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