As part of their campaign against “distracted driving”, NHTSA has released new voluntary guidelines governing the use of in-car infotainment systems.
Among the core of the recommendations, as reported by Automotive News
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration specifically recommended disabling several operations unless a vehicle is stopped and in park:
• Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and internet browsing
• Video-based entertainment and communications such as video phoning or video conferencing
• Displaying certain types of text, including text messages, Web pages, and social-media content
Also recommended are guidelines for how many times drivers can touch a screen within a set time limit (6 touches for 12 seconds) to change things like the radio station or temperature.
Meanwhile, Juan Barnett over at DC Auto Geek has been compiling data on “distracted driving” for some time now, and when one really dives into it, it’s clear that cell phones and hand-held devices are really a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. Barnett previously lent TTAC a handy infographic that breaks down the causes behind “distracted driving”, while a recent guest post at Jalopnik provides a more in-depth examination of NHTSA’s own data.
Barnett shows that NHTSA’s data is full of vague catch-all categories, but the number of distracted driving events related to cell-phone use could be as high as 12 percent at best – and that’s when all cell phone category events are aggregated. Texting, as a specific category, accounts for just 1 percent of all distracted driving events. 39 Americans died from texting and driving in 2011, while 45 Americans died from syphilis, a disease that is generally considered a non-entity.