GPS systems linked to distracted driving, may be restricted

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According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 17% of reported motor vehicle accidents involve distracted driving. In addition to texting and cell phone use, drivers can become distracted by features of their vehicles such as GPS systems. In fact, the NHTSA found that 3% of distracted driving accidents were attributed to “a device/control integral to the vehicle,” such as in-car GPS technology.

The NHTSA is focusing its efforts to limit distracted driving on the onboard navigation and SMS text messaging systems that are found with increasing frequency in newer models of automobiles. Accordingly, proposed federal guidelines suggest that “systems providing non-safety-related dynamic visual information” may be restricted or prohibited. Safer alternatives to continuously displayed maps, such as a fixed map or voice alert navigation systems, may be permitted.

Some automobile manufacturers have voiced opposition to limiting onboard electronics because of growing demand from consumers and because of the profitability of these new features. Currently, these proposals remain in the early stages of negotiation.  A series of meetings to discuss the proposed distracted guidelines are being held by federal regulators.

Source: MSNBC The Bottom Line, “New guidelines may restrict in-car GPS gadgets,” Paul Edelstein, March 27, 2012.