New guidelines released to keep drivers safe from distractions

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released guidelines Tuesday that encourage car manufacturers to limit the distraction risk connected to electronic devices built into their vehicles, according to a release by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

This would include limiting the distraction from communications, entertainment, and navigation devices.

According to DOT, The voluntary guidelines issued by the Departments National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identify electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require drivers to take their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road to use them.

In a release by DOT, the guidelines include recommendations to limit the time drivers must take their eyes off the road to two seconds at a time and 12 seconds total. They also recommend disabling a number of operations unless the vehicle is stopped and in park, including:

  • text messaging and internet browsing
  • video-based entertainment and communications  
  • display of text messages, web pages, and social media content

The guidelines coincide with findings in a study by the NHTSA that showed, “visual-manual tasks associated with hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times,” according to a release by DOT.

The guidelines and research announced last Tuesday are part of LaHood’s “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving,” to build on progress in the last few years to boost public attention on the issue of distracted driving and build momentum for action around the country to end distracted driving.