NHTSA Begins Distracted Driving Hearings – Will Automakers Listen?

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The new your vehicle’s dashboard is an entertainment smorgasbord and texting while driving trend is coming under scrutiny from the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration that is beginning three days of hearings. The NHTSA is working on finalizing “voluntary” guidelines, will automakers pay attention?

NHTSA Begins Distracted Driving Hearings

NHTSA will begin a series of distracted driving hearings aimed at establishing guidelines. The big question though is will auto manufactures listen?

In car navigation and advanced computer-like dash systems, like the Toyota Entune, compete for a driver’s attention. These in-dash devices combined with our cell phones loaded with social media, text messaging and regular phone call capabilities means distracted driving has definitely become an issue.

The NHTSA is holding public hearings as it works on guidelines that will steer auto manufactures to take into consideration how much attention these types of devices take away from drivers.

“Through our public hearings here and in other cities across the country this week, we are getting the chance to hear firsthand from you the public, about these guidelines,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said.

There will be three hearings beginning this week in Chicago and Los Angeles. The last hearing on March 23, will be a workshop at the NHTSA Vehicle and Research Test Center in East Liberty, Ohio, that will focus on the technical details of the guidelines.

Automakers want to have at least 60 days to comment on the guidelines before they are released and they also want access to studies the NHTSA is drawing upon to craft them.

Essentially a big part of what NHTSA is asking for is for automakers to develop technologies that would disable time-consuming functions, like Web browsing or text-messaging, while the car is moving. They would be enabled if the car is stopped or parked.

In February the NHTSA urged automakers to work on ways to reduce the time a driver spends working the in-car navigation and entertainment systems.

“Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and can have deadly consequences,” Strickland said.

While we have all no-doubt seen cases of distracted driving, what do you think of guidelines and would automakers follow them? Also, what about the passengers in vehicles, should they barred from Web browsing or text messaging?

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. mk says:

    passengers no problem texting, etc. but the driver should be banned and have their license taken away for life forever. You cannot believe everyday of driving someone either talking on their cell phone or in my opinion, much worse, texting or playing games via apps. It is to the point every car mfg. should install a train horn, or at least an air horn, to wake up those idiots who do it everyday. My neighbor even in his 50’s has gotten into 2 accidents both his fault both severe accidents 1 of which he almost got killed in by playing with his cell phone. What does he do? He never learned and bought a ford edge with NAV and touch screen display with all the gizmos called SYNC or something like that. I expect him to be in another accident before 2012 is up just because of these stupid features not needed in vehicles. Give me a radio with 4 speakers, CD player, cruise, tilt wheel, power windows, locks, steering, brakes, pwr. drivers seat, A/C and nothing else and I am happy as 99% of the drivers in this world should be happy with since that is all we really need to drive a vehicle. Car mfgs. need to concentrate on achieving 25 avg mpg in trucks instead of between 18 and 21 like it is now. I find it a total joke that all vehicle mfgs. cannot develop more fuel efficient V8 trucks since the avg. mpg has only increase about 2 mpg in the past 20 years of owning full sized trucks.

  2. Mickey says:

    I thought Toyota had done that. My wife’s Prius if you want to use the Nav or almost anything else besides the A/C, radio/XM, or mileage it locks out till you put it into park. As for gizmo’s mk to which his own. You can have hands free phone in your truck if you decide. Some of those you mention you don’t need either. I could care less for a Nav or bluetooth sync or whatever. It can be there but I don’t care to use those products. As far as mpg’s I get 21mpg now.

  3. Mike T says:

    Every day, distracted driving kills more than 15 people and injures more than 1,200 in usa only.
    using your cell phone or playing games while driving is one of the most dangerous act which can hurt not only you but your vehicle too.

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