June 17, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is seeking the power to regulate navigation apps such as Google Maps and Apple Maps in a bid to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road.
The agency is seeking Congressional approval to obtain regulatory control over mapping apps under President Barack Obama’s proposed transportation bill, the Grow America Act.
Under the proposed legislation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would be handed the authority to implement restrictions on mapping apps and order they be changed if they are found to be dangerous.
Automakers, not surprisingly are backing Obama’s legislation in the hopes more people will use their in-vehicle navigation systems.
Technology companies, however, are none too keen on the proposed measure — especially given the sheer volume of such apps available. They say there are simply too many apps for the Department of Transportation to govern, adding that it would be unfair for the government to regulate only the most popular ones.
It is little wonder the government is so intent on regulating the use of navigation apps while driving. According to the Department of Transportation, vehicle crashes killed 33,561 Americans and injured more than 2.3 million people in 2012. Fatal collisions also result in $41 billion in medical and work loss costs.
Congress will discuss the value of The Grow America Act over the next several months. It is not expected to make a decision until later this year.