DOT Rules Would Limit Car Gadget Use

Agency pushes voice-command systems over 'visual-manual' ones
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2012 2:22 PM CST
DOT Rules Would Limit Car Gadget Use
A driver touches the dashboard screen showing a computer-graphic panoramic bird's-eye-view of what's surrounding his car in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara, FILE)

The Department of Transportation has issued its first draft guidelines to deal with distracted driving, and they ban a lot more than just sending text messages. The guidelines recommend that automakers limit cars' "infotainment" systems so that while a car is in motion, all tasks can be performed with a two-second glance and one hand on the wheel, USA Today reports. That means no browsing the Internet, no using Facebook, and no entering addresses into your GPS. The proposed rules also favor voice-command systems.

While many cars already have measures in place to try to limit distraction, "there are some automakers who have no strategy at all," as they jam cars full of tech goodies, a National Highway Traffic Safety administrator said. He added that the DOT isn't trying to quash the technology itself, merely to improve its implementation—GPS in particular actually makes drivers safer, he said, because they needn't fumble with maps. (Read more Department of Transportation stories.)

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