The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a series of proposed guidelines yesterday to minimize distracted driving.
The guidelines, which are voluntary, encourage the manufacturers of cars, light trucks, and SUVs to simplify their communication and infotainment systems, so drivers won't need more than a few seconds to use a device. The proposals would not apply to safety features, such as electronic collision warning systems.
The Department of Transportation (DOT), which oversees the NHTSA, has suggested a phased-in approach for compliance.
The Phase I guidelines include these recommendations:
Reduce complexity and task length required by the device;
Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle);
Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view;
Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.
The proposal also suggests disabling these operations while the vehicle is in motion:
Visual-manual text messaging;
Visual-manual internet browsing;
Visual-manual social media browsing;
Visual-manual navigation system destination entry by address;
Visual-manual 10-digit phone dialing;
Displaying to the driver more than 30 characters of text unrelated to the driving task.
The DOT does not intend to penalize carmakers that don't implement the guidelines.