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texting and driving - NowCar

Distracting Driving and What The NHTSA Recommends

Written By, Harley R


Maybe you are sitting slow traffic and you here your phone ring, you are bored and figure traffic is pretty much as a stop, so why not see who that call or text is from? Why not answer it? It will only take a second and you’re bored anyway… it can be tough to ignore your phone when you are driving, but don’t do it.

With the growth of technology and smartphone capabilities, there has been an increase in accidents caused by distracted driving. From 2014 to 2015, there was an increase of 15.54 percent in fatal accidents and an increase of 8.77 percent of traffic accidents in Florida. That’s not just a slight increase. Texting, social media, emailing, and GPS navigation have all impacted many drivers’ ability to focus on the road.

With the increase of accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published new voluntary guidelines aimed at smartphone device makers and app developers. The NHTSA hopes that developers and makers adapt these guidelines and that the changes will help to curb the number of smartphone-related accidents.

One of the NHTSA’s recommendations is that all smartphone manufacturers design smartphones to integrate with in-car systems that can be accessed via the car’s interface. That way if a driver wants to respond to a text, make a call or use navigation, they can do so by speaking to the system rather than take their hands off the steering wheel and eyes off the road.  

Another NHTSA recommendation is for smartphones to disable certain functions when paired with a vehicle or have at least have a “driver mode” option that limits more demanding functions.

Of course, these are just recommendations and smartphone developers and designers do not have to follow them because phone and communications guidelines are outside of the scope of authority of the NHTSA.

There were a few different reactions to the NHTSA’s recommendations. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers seemed willing to consider certain guidelines and modifications, while a representative of the consumer electronics industry found the recommendations “disturbing.”

It’s a thin line. If the number of smartphone and distracted accidents continues to increase, could the NHTSA set tighter regulations that are outside of a smartphone makers world? For instance, since the NHTSA can regulate car safety requirements, could they require car makers to create systems that prevent phone and internet signals when the car is not in park? Or could states pass laws like the laws on alcohol and open containers which would require phones to be kept in the trunk during driving? Probably not. But maybe it’s not a bad idea for both parties to work together on this.

We are interested to hear your opinions on the NHTSA’s proposed guidelines. Feel free to share them with use via Facebook. If you are looking to be a safer driver and need a vehicle with a hands free system to help you look at the road and not your phone, check out NowCar! Find the perfect car with all the features you could want and need.