“Tell Them You Mean Business”

Government Agencies Seek Ultimate Solution to Curbing Distracted Driving

Government overreach has been the big theme in just about every newspaper in recent weeks. The IRS has been caught targeting conservative groups for extra scrutiny, the EPA is in trouble for giving farmers’ information to environmentalists, and the Department of Justice was found to be secretly subpoenaing the phone records of journalists.

While people throughout the U.S. are becoming increasingly concerned about just what the government is doing - especially with electronic data - the government has made no secret of its involvement when it comes to what citizens do with electronic gadgets while behind the wheel. Our Boston car accident lawyers know the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) continue to push for stricter rules to address the dangers.

Feds Aim to Find an Ultimate Solution to Distracted Driving Issues

According to Wired.com, federal regulators are hoping to make it impossible to send texts or use the Internet while driving.  The NHTSA and the DOT have a 281-page report outlining guidelines for stopping the use of electronic devices by drivers.

The plan apparently targets both car manufacturers and those in the electronics industry. New regulations within these industries could perhaps provide a technological solution or innovation that would make using a mobile device impossible while driving. For example, the “ultimate solution” to stop distracted driving could, according to the Feds, is to deactivate mobile devices when the car is being driven. A new and innovative device could be used to recognize when a driver is using a mobile device and to then deactivate the device so the user’s focus would be forced back to the road.

NHTSA lawmakers, in particular, are concerned about video functionality, texting and messaging, Internet browsing and any activity that takes the drivers focus off of the road for longer than a few seconds.

The NHTSA wants the driver to refrain from taking his eyes off of the road or hands off of the wheel for more than two seconds for each input when using an in-car or other device. They also want to ensure that it takes a total of 12 seconds or less for a driver to complete any task he would need to do in the car.

By keeping tasks short and by keeping drivers eyes on the road, there would be fewer distracted driving crashes. Texting and Internet browsing obviously take more than two seconds, so the NHTSA wants these behaviors to end behind the wheel, permanently.

Two paths are being proposed in order to put a final stop to distracted driving behaviors. One would require drivers to physically connect their phones or mobile devices to the embedded system in the cars that disable functionality while the vehicle is driving. The other is a proximity sensor in the car that recognizes when a driver is using a device and requires that the device be passed off to a passenger.

The issue of a proximity sensor in the car is, of course, likely to raise further concerns about government access to data and about the security of our private information. Could the sensor tell who was in the car, for example, or where you were going?

While concerns about government overreach are undeniably valid, some type of technical solution to put a permanent end to distracted driving might be a good way to save lives if there was a way to find a solution with the help of both car manufacturers and electronics companies.

If you’ve been hurt, call 1-800-WIN-WIN-1 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone.