The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has issued new guidelines to help curb distracted driving. As mobile technology has become more popular, distraction has become a major cause of car accidents. Some states, including New Jersey, have passed laws to try to solve this problem, but there is still a lot of work ahead.
The guidelines encourage consumer electronics companies such as Apple and Google to build phones and other devices that can connect with the car’s built-in system, so that the driver can operate the device more easily. This would arguably stop drivers from looking at their phones while driving.
The association also suggests that the phone’s functionality is simplified when it is the car. The hope is that the user is limited to basic features such as navigation, and loses access to distracting features like gaming apps.
Are Guidelines Enough to Curb Distracted Driving?
Many in-car infotainment systems are already headed in the direction described in the guidelines, but some might wonder if these changes are enough. Innovations like these haven’t appeared to solve the problem so far, and there are no formal consequences in place for companies that decide to ignore the guidance.
The NHTA is not the first to propose technology as a possible solution for distracted driving. For example, many have suggested providing law enforcement with a device that would check if a driver had been texting. The argument is that this would allow cops to arrest distracted drivers like they currently do drunk drivers. Another popular solution is requiring tech companies to build technology that would prevent phones from working while the car is running.
Whatever the solution is, it is clear that we all need to do our part to solve this problem. Drivers, community leaders, device makers and car companies will likely all have to do their part if we are going to get past this safety issue.