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New Guidelines Proposed for Car Technology

Government officials are proposing that dashboard technology should disable when vehicles are in motion.

With more advanced dashboard technology being built into cars, federal safety officials say dashboard technology should be designed to disable while the vehicle is in motion.

Electronics distract drivers (Photo courtesy AP)
Electronics distract drivers (Photo courtesy AP)

This comes as a concern due to the increasing integration of built-in gadgets in high-end cars that allow drivers to text-message and browse the internet while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed new guidelines to make dashboard devices less distracting and time-consuming by reducing the need for drivers to divert their eyes from the road.

The NHTSA recognizes that car manufacturers want to include the tools desired by modern American drivers, but are also aware of the dangers that accompany those conveniences.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, "The guidelines we're proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want without disrupting a driver's attention or sacrificing safety."

Also being considered are future guidelines addressing other portable electronic devices such as GPS navigation systems, tablets, pads and smart phones.

These guidelines will exempt warning systems that alert drivers of potential collisions or lane changes, and would only apply to passenger cars and sport utility vehicles.

Others feel these guidelines are not enough. Barbara Harsha, executive director of the governors highway safety association believes these guidelines are a good step in the right direction, but "The safest thing for drivers is, not to use these systems at all."

In December, The National Transportation Safety Board said that texting, emailing or chatting while driving is far too dangerous to be allowed, and urges states to impose bans.

Today, 35 states ban texing while driving, nine states ban handheld cellphone use, and 30 states prohibit all cellphone use for beginning drivers. There are currently no bans for the use of hands-free devices for all drivers.


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