USDOT Announces Distracted Driving Guidelines for Car Manufacturers

February 19, 2012, by Michael A. DeMayo

To further combat the epidemic known as distracted driving, the US Department of Transportation has unveiled a number of proposed guidelines for automakers to limit the distraction that in-vehicle electronic devices can provide. These are voluntary guidelines for entertainment, communications, navigation, and information gathering devices, which aren’t necessary in order to drive a vehicle safely.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyers are familiar with the risks involved with distracted driving and the catastrophic consequences that can result. Unfortunately, the world has become a place where more and more people can’t help but multi-task with the help of their electronic devices. One of the places where this is happening is in motor vehicles.

Thankfully, lawmakers and safety advocates have become more proactive at taking steps to prevent distracted driving.  North Carolina has a statewide ban on texting while driving. However, it is only drivers under 18 and school bus drivers who aren’t allowed to use a cell phone, and unlike many US states, NC doesn’t ban adults from using handheld phones while driving. This, however, doesn’t mean that using a handheld phone while operating a motor vehicle isn’t dangerous.

Per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s guidelines, specific recommended criteria for electronic devices that are installed in motor vehicles when they are being manufactured would be established. Ideally, these devices could be operated in a manner that limits how distracting they are for the motorist to use in regards to how much a driver’s hands or eyes have to be engaged that it takes some of the focus away from driving. Phase I of these proposed guidelines also suggest that the device:

  • Be designed in a manner that reduces the complexity and length of the task at hand.
  • Requires that the driver just use one hand so the other hand can stay on the steering wheel
  • Necessitates no more than two seconds of off-road glances.
  • Limits any visual information that is unnecessary to complete the task.
  • Limits how much manual input the driver has to provide to operate the device.
  • Disables visual-manual texting, social media browsing, Internet browsing, and phone dialing while the driver is operating the vehicle—unless it is the passenger who is handling the in-vehicle device.

Distracted driving is a very real danger and it can lead to catastrophic North Carolina car accidents. Unfortunately, many people still don’t think that distracted driving is dangerous as long as they are the ones doing it. Yet one cannot ignore the hundreds of thousands of injuries and thousands of deaths that happen every year because a driver was distracted.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo would be happy to offer you a free case evaluation. Our North Carolina distracted driving lawyers have offices in Charlotte, Monroe, Hickory, and Lumberton.

US Department of Transportation Proposes ‘Distraction’ Guidelines for Automakers, NHTSA, February 16, 2012

Cell phone and texting laws, Governors Highway Safety Association, February 2012


More Blog Posts:

Drunk driving a factor in North Carolina car accident that killed 17-year-old Raleigh student?, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 31, 2012

Deadline for North Carolina and South Carolina High School Students to Enter the Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program is February 27, 2012 , North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 4, 2012

NTSB Calls for Nationwide Ban on Cell Phone Use while Driving,  North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 16, 2011



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