As infotainment systems become more prevalent in vehicles than ever before, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stepped in to create voluntary “distraction guidelines” to maintain road safety in an age when social networks literally are at a driver’s fingertips.
NHTSA’s voluntary guidelines, which were announced Feb. 16, set criteria for automakers to create future infotainment-system features that would prevent driver distraction. Some of the agency’s suggestions would simplify infotainment-system tasks, limit off-road glances to 2 seconds, and prohibit drivers’ manual texting or browsing abilities during driving.
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says manufacturers in the automobile industry have practiced aspects of these guidelines for nearly a decade, according to Reuters. Since NHTSA’s guidelines are voluntary, it’s unclear how many automakers actually will incorporate the guidelines into their future infotainment systems.
NHTSA will hold public hearings about the proposed guidelines throughout March in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Infotainment systems connect with and stream music and information from smartphones and provide the ability for a vehicle occupant to make and receive phone calls and text messages.