Why can't people just put down the phone? For some, it just may be habit as society comes to depend more and more on using cellphones to stay connected with friends and family. For others, it just may be convenient to do two things at the same time.
Whatever the reason may be, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that 13.5 million drivers use cellphones while driving. Distracted driving accidents killed over 3,000 people in 2010 alone - not to mention all of the injuries. Some studies have also suggested that distracted driving poses a risk as high as driving while under the influence of alcohol.
LIMITS ON IN-DASH ELECTRONICS
The federal government is listening to these numbers. Specifically, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently proposed guidelines to car manufacturers to impose limits on the use of electronic devices while driving - in particular on in-dash electronics that are built into the vehicle by car manufacturers.
For example, if a car has a phone built-in, the driver would not be able to dial telephone numbers or text while the car is moving; also, while using a car's built-in navigation system, the driver would have to stop the vehicle in order to input a destination address. The proposed guidelines also recommend disabling internet browsing for the driver while the car was moving.
Though voluntary, the proposed guidelines are not expected to be burdensome; as such, vehicle manufacturers are expected to implement at least some of the agency's recommendations.
Though the agency's proposed guidelines are not the same as federal laws, the government's involvement in the fight against distracted driving is an important step; safety advocates and families of loved ones harmed by distracted driving likely hope that these steps will continue in Cleveland and elsewhere.
Source: Fox 8 Cleveland, "Feds Propose Limits on In-Dash Driving Distractions"