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Auto Safety Watchdogs Want to Block Apps for Drivers

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Federal auto safety regulators are asking Apple, Samsung and other Smartphone makers to do more to increase driver safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday released the second phase of its Driver Distraction Guidelines, calling for phone makers to create a ‘driver mode,’ which would prevent people from using distracting apps and programs while driving.

“NHTSA has long encouraged drivers to put down their phones and other devices, and just drive,” said NHTSA administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. “With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers’ eyes where they belong — on the road.”

The goal of the guidelines, the NHTSA said, would be to ensure certain activities that would “interfere with the driver’s ability to safely control the vehicle” — such as displaying videos or social media posts — would be blocked while driving.

The guidelines emphasize the necessity for manufacturers to implement features such as pairing, where a portable device is linked to a vehicle’s infotainment system, as well as Driver Mode. Pairing and Driver Mode combined help to reduce distractions because they limit the time a driver’s eyes are off the road, while at the same time preserving the full functionality of these devices when they are used at other times.

“As millions of Americans take to the roads for Thanksgiving gatherings, far too many are put at risk by drivers who are distracted by their cellphones,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These common sense guidelines, grounded in the best research available, will help designers of mobile devices build products that cut down on distraction on the road.”

The agency is seeking public comments on the proposed guidelines at Regulations.gov.

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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