Obama administration seeks help from auto industry to stop texting while driving
The federal government is looking for ways to discourage motorists from texting while driving. For Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, it appears that automakers are best suited to fight the problem.
Secretary LaHood recently proposed voluntary guidelines for car manufacturers regarding driving distractions. Among the different proposals, a recommendation was made to design equipment that would automatically disable distractions such as a cell phone, texting or web browsing, once a car is in motion.
The National Transportation Safety Board will hold public hearings over the next 60 days over the issue. For NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, it is time to acknowledge the support that the automobile industry can provide.
“We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today’s American drivers,” said Strickland. “The guidelines we’re proposing would offer real-world guidance to automakers to help them develop electronic devices that provide features consumers want without disrupting a driver’s attention or sacrificing safety.”
For the vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, there are some distractions that even car makers won’t be able to fight.
“Drivers are going to have conversations, listen to music and read maps while driving, and automakers are helping them do this more safely with integrated hands-free systems that help drivers focus on the road,” said Gloria Bergquist.
A recent government survey found that one out of five motorists admitted to texting while driving.
Source: Associated Press, February 17, 2012