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Government Proposes Guidelines to Limit Distracted Driving

With the myriad of technologies available to us these days, the temptation to use them at all times and remain connected has never been higher. The problem is that these gadgets divert your attention away from something else, and when you’re behind the wheel, this can be a fatal problem.

In order to curb distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its first-ever guidelines for automakers to place limitations on in-car technology that could be distracting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the proposals “would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers.”

Among the suggestions in the proposal, drivers would not be able to text message, enter an address into the navigation system or browse the Internet while the car is in gear. “When the car is moving, messages and other infotainment tasks would be limited to two-second glances and one-hand operation,” writes USA Today. “Voice-command systems are being encouraged as an alternative.”

In the coming years, car shoppers will likely see greater use and improvement of in-vehicle voice-command systems, like Ford’s Sync or Kia’s Uvo, except more comprehensive. Other Transportation Department recommendations include simplifying vehicle communication systems, as well as curbing unnecessary information that is placed in the driver’s field of vision, such as through a head-up display that projects information onto the windshield.

The guidelines for reducing distracted driving are the first in a series of recommendations that NHTSA will make to address this issue. “If a carmaker chooses not to adhere to these non-compulsory rules, it will not affect its vehicles’ 5-Star Safety Ratings,” says the Detroit Free Press. Future infotainment systems that comply with these guidelines would allow drivers to remain connected behind the wheel, while making it easier to concentrate on the road, keeping everyone safer.

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