As Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes to a close, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced voluntary guidelines for automakers to reduce the incidents of distracted driving on our roadways.
The guidelines provide that technology within vehicles should not require drivers to take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel for more than two seconds. In addition, completing a task should not require a driver to remove his or her eyes from the road for more than 12 seconds in total.
The guidelines are focused on making activities commonly performed while driving safer. They target gadgets often found in vehicles these days, including:
- GPS devices
- DVD players
- Hands-free cellphones
In addition, the DOT has indicated that certain activities should only be allowed when a vehicle is parked or stopped. For instance, reading or sending text messages and browsing the internet have both been found to be particularly dangerous activities while behind the wheel. These activities distract drivers cognitively, manually and visually.
In 2011, distracted driving accidents led to 3,331 fatalities and approximately 387,000 personal injuries. The DOT hopes that automakers will abide by these voluntary guidelines, and a significant decrease in distracted driving accidents will follow.
The recently announced guidelines do not cover handheld cellphone usage, as the DOT does not condone using handheld phones while driving. Instead, the DOT will issue different guidelines to cover handheld cellphones.
When someone sustains injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driving, seeking the counsel of a qualified legal professional will ensure the injured party's rights are protected.
Source: CNN, "'Two second' safety guideline for cars of the future," Mike M. Ahlers, April 24, 2013.
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