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NHTSA issues guidelines to limit car texting, email access

News by Michael Oryl on Thursday February 16, 2012.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed a set of non-binding guidelines for auto manufacturers that deal with the issue of distracted driving due both to in-car electronics as well as dashboard integration with portable electronic devices that car drivers carry with them, such as mobile phones.

Though primarily designed to limit driver interaction with car features such as GPS navigation, the guidelines also aim to make it impossible for drivers to interact with any non-driving specific messages of thirty characters or longer, except when the car is in park. This would impact the recent trend of integrating email and text messages, and even internet browsing, into car dashboards.

The NHTSA said that it plans to introduce future guidelines that specifically address the use of portable devices like smartphones by drivers. It claims that text messaging use by drivers grew by 50 percent during 2010, which is the most recent year that for which data is available.

Late last year the National Traffic and Safety Board proposed a national ban on driver text messaging, which the federal government did not back.

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Michael Oryl
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