US DOT: Auto makers should disable in-dash electronics when cars are moving

The U.S. agency says in-dash electronics can increase the risk of a crash significantly

Automobile makers should prevent drivers from using their in-vehicle electronic devices to browse the Internet and send text messages while their vehicles are moving, the U.S. Department of Transportation has recommended.

Auto makers should also lock out drivers in moving cars from reading text messages, viewing photographs, displaying scrolling text and using video apps, the DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended in voluntary guidelines released this week.

"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

The guidelines recommend that "that in-vehicle devices be designed so that they cannot be used by the driver to perform these inherently distracting activities while driving," the NHTSA said in a report.

An NHTSA study found that text messaging, browsing and dialing resulted in drivers taking their eyes off the road for the longest time of electronic activities the agency studied. Text messaging increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by two times and took drivers' eyes off the road for an average of 23.3 seconds, the agency said.

Activities performed when completing a phone call -- reaching for a phone, looking up a contact and dialing the number -- increased the risk by three times, the agency said.

"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

The study did not find a direct increased crash risk from the specific act of talking on a mobile phone, although the related actions created additional risk. Portable hands-free and in-vehicle hands-free mobile phone use involved additional tasks that increase risk 50 percent of the time, the agency said.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group, praised the NHTSA for "recognizing the importance" of hands-free technology, but it raised concerns about the recommendation that auto makers disable in-dash electronics without also addressing handheld devices.

"Our concern is that limiting built-in systems without simultaneously addressing portable devices could result in drivers choosing not to connect their phones in order to access the functionality they want," the alliance said in a statement. "That would be a troubling outcome, given the NHTSA finding announced today that visual-manual tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increase crash risk by three times."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags 4gtelecommunication3gAlliance of Automobile ManufacturersregulationRay LaHoodmobilegovernmentU.S. Department of Transportation

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?