The U.S. Transportation Department asked automakers today to make devices that are used to connect to social networks, used in texting, or in some other fashion a distraction to drivers, not work unless the car is stopped.
The goal, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is to put the brakes on distracted driving. “Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways — that’s why I’ve made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel,” said the Secretary.
According to the Transportation Department, there were more than 3000 deaths on US highways due to distracted driving in 2011.
The number of cars that include built in devices for social media connectivity, communications, web browsing, mapping, and other interactive activities, is growing. The guidelines issued to automakers asked that these embedded devices be disabled for the driver while driving. They can remain available to passengers. The guidelines are non-binding. They will be made final after a 60 day public comment period.
The Transportation Department is also considering ways to deal with handheld electronics brought into cars.