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Will New NHTSA Guidelines Make Driving Less Safe?

By San Diego Car Accident Lawyer on July 1, 2013 - Comments off

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for creating and implementing a wide range of rules that affect vehicle and driver safety, so when the agency proposes a new rule, experienced car accident lawyers tend to take note. However, some are saying that the NHTSA’s latest proposed rule might actually make drivers and their passengers less safe.

At issue is a rule that would limit the features of in-vehicle infotainment systems that drivers could access when the vehicle is in gear, even if it is not moving. The agency’s goal is to limit driver distraction by eliminating access to features like showing album artwork when a particular song is playing — things that aren’t necessary to operate the vehicle or to navigate and that might distract a driver at a crucial moment, resulting in an accident.

Manufacturers of in-vehicle infotainment systems, however, are standing up against the proposed rule. They argue that if the content drivers want isn’t available on the in-vehicle system, drivers will just try to use their smartphones instead, creating an additional distraction that also puts drivers and other motorists at risk. Many of these systems are currently in development and are expected to reach the US market within the next five years.

Instead, some of these companies argue, the features the NHTSA wants to lock out should be accessible when the car is in gear but not moving, like when it is stopped at a red light. Using voice commands is also thought to decrease the level of distraction, but studies are conflicted as to whether this is actually the case.

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Posted in: Car Accident


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