Yesterday, April 23rd, the NHTSA issued new guidelines aimed at further minimizing the possibility of drivers to become distracted while driving.
According to the new guidelines, it should not take drivers more than two seconds to look away from the road to an infotainment touch screen or cell phone and more than 12 seconds to for multiple responses to technology, such as typing in an address or repeated phone calls. The new guidelines are voluntary until April 2016, although automakers are urged to replace in-car technology which requires pushing buttons with voice active systems.
“Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation’s roadways,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday.
In 2011, from the total of 32,367 traffic deaths in the US, 3,337 of them (more than 10%) were caused by some form of distraction. The current NHTSA guidelines limit drivers to 20 seconds of touching a cell phone or embedded screen (around 10 touches) and certain tasks could surpass those limits if the car is not travelling faster than 5 miles per hour.
“The problem isn’t limited to drivers who text on their smartphones,” said Ellen Bloom, policy director for Consumers Union. “There’s a serious concern about in-dash controls that may be very distracting when you’re behind the wheel.”