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Distracted driving rules proposed

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has consistently warned drivers about the dangers of distracted driving such as talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle. It recently announced part of its proposed solution to the dangers caused by a distracted driver.

The NHTSA's voluntary guidelines that were issued in two phases. The first phase covered devices or systems that were built into the vehicle during manufacturing. These guidelines include recommendations to restrict the time that motorists take their attention from the road to perform any task to two seconds at one time and for a total of 12 seconds.

The NHTSA also recommended disabling several tasks unless the vehicle is stopped and parked. These include manual text entry for text messaging and internet browsing, video-based entertainment such as video phoning or video-based conferencing and displaying certain texts such as text messaging, web pages and social media.

In its second phase of guidelines, the NHTSA proposed portable and aftermarket electronic devices that reduce the chance of driving distraction. Manufacturers are encouraged to implement pairing that involves a portable device being linked to a vehicle's infotainment system. The agency also recommends use of a simplified user interface, Driver Mode.

Drivers and passengers can also take numerous precautions. These include putting down a cellphone while driving, setting the destination on electronic direction device before driving and passengers offering to text or call for drivers so they do not use their devices while driving.

Motorists and passengers face financial and physical consequences from a distracted or negligent driver. Car crash victims should seek legal assistance for compensation for these losses.

Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, "U.S. DOT proposes guidelines to address driver distraction caused by mobile devices in vehicles" Accessed Nov. 28, 2016

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