Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents, costing thousands of lives and leading to thousands if debilitating injuries every year. There have always been distractions while driving, whether it’s trying to find the right temperature, looking for a radio station, or trying to eat, drink a hot cup of coffee or light a cigarette. But in recent years, with the advent of electronic devices, there are more distractions than ever before and it’s creating a growing problem of distracted driving accidents.
The federal government has finally weighed in, with an effort to reduce the distracted driving epidemic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued new guidelines for car makers to follow, in order to make vehicles capable of reducing the likelihood of driver distraction.
The biggest problem comes when drivers take their eyes off the road to consult with or adjust electronic devices, like smartphones, mp3 players or GPS devices. Through their research, the NHTSA has come up with two seconds as the maximum amount of time drivers can safely take their eyes off the road when attending to any function inside the vehicle. Therefore, with these guidelines, car makers are being encouraged to include the ability to limit the time the driver takes his or her eyes off the road to that short period of time.
The guidelines recommend that certain functions be blocked while the vehicle is moving, such as entering or reading text into any device for any reason, and they advise against allowing any video, text or internet sites to be displayed inside the vehicle while in motion. Electronic stereos with displays should be limited to 30 characters at a time, because that is what drivers can read comfortably in two seconds. They also place restrictions on map displays in the vehicles. Maps can be displayed, as long as they’re not photorealistic or three-dimensional.
These NHTSA guidelines will go into effect in three years, but this is just the first of three phases to be implemented to reduce the number of distracted driving accidents. Guidelines for cell phone manufacturers will come later, followed by guidelines for all other manufacturers of electronic devices.
With thousands killed or injured each year in Texas as a result of distracted driving accidents, NHTSA’s move is a welcome one. If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in an automobile accident, and you suspect the responsible driver was distracted by some sort of electronic device, contact the Texas Distracted Driving Accident Lawyers at Hill Law Firm today.