NHTSA Pushing for Smartphones to Include “Driver Mode” to Reduce Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has put the call out to smartphone companies to help lead the way in reducing distracted driving. In November, the agency issued a proposed, voluntary set of guidelines for smartphone companies to join forces with auto manufacturers and use their combined powers to help drivers put down their phones and reduce distracted driving.

Proposing Better Smartphone Integration with Your Car

As more vehicles come onto the market with dashboard media “infotainment” centers, the opportunities for smartphone connectivity are increasing. The first element of the NHTSA’s proposal is to make more smartphones and smartphone operating systems compatible with these dashboard consoles.

The goal of this increased connectivity is not to give drivers more options to fiddle with their devices, but rather to take their hands off their phones and keep them on the wheel. Some of today’s infotainment centers allow hands-free calling, one touch phone books, text message reading and voice response, and integrated navigation.

The enhanced connectivity will give a platform for the NHTSA’s second proposal: adding “Driver Mode” to the smartphone’s connectivity software.

In the proposal, the driver mode would restrict the applications and actions a phone could perform while connected to the vehicle. The limitations would keep only the most critical and least distracting features like:

  • Voicemail
  • Maps and navigation
  • Music

The driver mode would prohibit more distracting actions such as:

  • Reading or replying to email or texts
  • Playing games
  • Watching videos
  • Surfing the internet

Preventing Distracted Driving Starts in Your Vehicle

The proposals from the NHTSA are only voluntary, and whether auto manufacturers and smartphone developers will take them to heart is unclear. However, we can still put an end to distracted driving, if drivers take preventative measures.

The NHTSA suggests these tips keep you from driving distracted:

  • Keep your hands off your cell phone and do not acknowledge it during your drive. You might want to consider leaving it in the back seat, glove compartment, or trunk.
  • If you use your smartphone for navigation features, set your destination before you start driving.
  • If you are a passenger and the driver is using his phone, offer to take over phone duties or politely ask him to stop using his phone while driving.
  • Use your seatbelt during every car ride, no matter how short, to improve your protection from unsafe drivers.

Traffic fatalities from distracted drivers are on the rise, and the NHTSA’s proposals are just one step in combating this alarming trend. Bressman Law supports safe drivers. We are here to help drivers and pedestrians who suffer injuries from negligent drivers seek compensation for their injuries.

To learn more about your options after a car accident and see how working with an auto accident lawyer can help reduce your stress while filing a claim, contact Bressman Law at 877-538-1116.