NHTSA Delivers Distracted Driving Guidelines
April 24, 2013 1:54 PM
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
. 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.
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone
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