U.S. traffic safety regulators have proposed voluntary measures to keep drivers from being distracted by in-car touchscreens.
In a study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
Regulators fear in-car devices could lead to distracted driving as well.
The government's voluntary guidelines establish recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are built.
The guidelines seek to limit the time a driver must take her eyes off the road to manipulate a device to two seconds at a time - and twelve seconds total to complete the task.
The voluntary guidelines also recommend turning off several operations while the vehicle is in motion:
Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and internet browsing;
Video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing;
Display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages, social media content.
In a press release, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said:
"Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," said Secretary LaHood. "These guidelines recognize that today's drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives."
A spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told the Associated Press they're concerned regulations on in-car devices would encourage more use of mobile devices while driving.
Human brains do not perform two tasks at the same time. Instead, the brain handles tasks sequentially, switching between one task and another. Brains can juggle tasks very rapidly, which leads us to erroneously believe we are doing two tasks at the same time. In reality, the brain is switching attention between tasks – performing only one task at a time.
When you think about someone texting and driving, who comes to mind? A teenager? If you said yes, you're wrong.
A survey conducted by AT&T as a part of the "It Can Wait" campaign found that 98% of adults that they surveyed admitted that they texted while driving. In contrast, 48% of teenagers said they texted while driving.
The AT&T study also found that 60% of adults surveyed said that they didn't text while they were behind the wheel three years ago.
What's going on with drivers in America? Is it smartphones? Or are we becoming more reckless drivers?
A website is launching just in time to help parents monitor and improve winter driving skills for teen drivers.
The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute is launching the site called Safer Driving for Teens.
Jean Shope serves as an associate director of UMTRI and says parents find it's worthwhile. “We do find that teens whose parents have used this program, and they’ve had an agreement, drive in a less risky manner…and in other studies certainly have less crashes.”
Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Bonnie Raffaele, mother of Kelsey Raffaele, a teenage girl who died in a car crash on January 24, 2010 while using a cell phone. Bonnie has been advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 756. The bill, also known as Kelsey’s Law, would prohibit novice teen drivers from talking on the cell phone while driving. The bill, passed by the Senate earlier this year, will be discussed tomorrow in a House Transportation Committee Hearing.
Jim Santilli is executive director of the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan. He says one simple mistake made by a distracted driver can change the lives of many people.
On Tuesday TIA will hold a conference at Zimmerman’s former high school in Romeo. The speakers will include members of her family as well as government and safety officials. A new, graphic video that details what happens in a car crash will also be shown.
The campaign is geared toward teens and young adults, but Santilli says older adults are also guilty of distracted driving.