Distraction Prevention Guidelines Proposed by DOT

Earlier this week, the United States Department of Transportation publicized their proposed voluntary guidelines that aim at persuading automobile makers to limit distractions for in-vehicle electronic devices. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys learned that these propositions would be applicable to communications, entertainment, information gathering, as well as, other navigational functions that have play prominent roles in driver distraction in many automobiles on the market today. Although a majority of these guidelines are aimed towards motor vehicles less than 10,000 pounds, a National Highway Traffic Safety Association spokesperson revealed that the agency will be looking into applying the guidelines to heavier commercial vehicles with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at a later date.

Currently, Phase I guidelines have been proposed to include information for manufacturers that would ensure that the systems or devices used in the creation of new motor vehicles hold the least likelihood of causing distraction to the driver of that vehicle. A Chicago truck accident lawyer at our office read on TruckingInfo.com that overall the voluntary guidelines seeks to prevent distractions that are not directly relevant to safely operating the vehicle or cause unnecessary distraction by persuading the driver to take their hands or eyes off the vehicle for more than just a few seconds while driving.

The proposed Phase I guidelines currently include the following recommendations:

– Reduce complexity and task length required by the device – Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel in order to control the motor vehicle)
– Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration – Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver’s field of view – Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Phase II of the guidelines will most likely address distraction causing devices that are not currently equipped in motor vehicles but are brought into the vehicle and used during vehicle operation. These devices include, but are not limited to, portable personal electronic devices such as navigation systems, smart phones, electronic tablets and pads, in addition to, any other mobile communication device. Our Illinois trucking accident attorneys read that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will hold public hearings on the above mentioned issues in order to solicit public comment. The hearings will transpired during the month of March in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., as well as, Chicago.

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