In Dash Technology: Are Federal Regulations Needed?

Roads are already dangerous places. With the increased prevalence of cell phones, smart phones, navigation systems and other distractions, drivers are paying less and less attention to actual driving. In addition, to keep up with growing reliance on technology, many new cars offer features that integrate these distractions into the car. Many cars now offer an in-dash ability to make phone calls, look up gas prices and check Facebook.

Distracted driving is becoming a serious problem. In the last year alone, over 3,000 people in the US were killed in car accidents caused by in-car distractions, despite the recent passage of laws to govern phone use while driving. Ten states have laws banning the use of hand-held phones while driving and 35 states have a complete ban on texting while driving.

For example, California banned both handheld cell phone use and texting. As a result, there has been a drop in deaths due to cell phone distraction by almost 50 percent since the laws were passed.

Car companies are also concerned about the use of in-dash applications. Many have already established limits on use while the car is in motion. But car companies will not stop trying to come out with the best and most comprehensive in dash system without government involvement.

The Federal Government has decided that now is the time to act. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently begun looking into the feasibility of guidelines for in-car navigation and integrated technology systems.

The NHTSA suggested that these car systems meet guidelines to minimize the distracting effect to the driver while the car is in motion. It also proposed voluntary guidelines that would disable functions such as texting, web browsing and dialing when driving.

Source: Fox News, “As car tech advances, can distracted drivers keep up?” John Quain, Mar. 13, 2012