Transportation Department Asks Automakers To Be Antisocial

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Distraction is one of the most important topics on the minds of safety advocates and lawmakers across the country.  With citizens across the world more connected than ever before, distracted driving has become a commonplace occurrence along the roadways.  But the Transportation Department has just announced a measure that aims to curtail this threat.

The agency has issued guidelines asking automakers to stop featuring in-car technologies that have social media and Internet capabilities.  In addition to limiting social connections, the department has also urged manufacturers to create dashboard screens and navigation features that won’t require a driver to avert their eyes from the road for more than a couple seconds.

These are just guidelines at this point, and they won’t even come into action until 2016.  But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in the midst of reconfiguring current automobile ratings systems, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see technology like what’s described above playing a role in a vehicle’s overall safety rating.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, though, has some qualms with the guidelines that have been announced.  They point to NHTSA data which shows the vehicle system only accounts for a scant 2% of distracted driving-based accidents, with all other crashes stemming from such things as cellphone usage and other distractions.

The announcement comes on the heels of a study from the Texas Transportation Institute showing that manual texting and voice-activated texting are equally distracting.