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NHTSA Pushes for Smartphones to Include “Driver Mode”

Scott McCullough June 1, 2019

Distracted driving is not a new issue. Commuters have frequently engaged in actions that take their attention away from the road and increase their chances of getting into a car accident. However, the most attention-diverting and therefore most dangerous distraction behind the wheel is a cell phone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has taken notice and decided to use their position as authoritative figures to take action. They’re urging auto manufacturers and smartphone companies to collaborate on a way to increase integration between phones and cars in an effort to decrease the frequency of distracted driving.

The Quest for Improved Smartphone Car Integration

The current trend in vehicle manufacturing is elaborate dashboard media or “infotainment” centers. While some vehicles like the new Honda Accord have screens that pop up from the dashboard, others like Tesla have become famous for their massive tablet-like infotainment centers.

NHTSA has several proposals. The first is for smartphone operating systems to have improved integration with these interactive car dashboards. This may seem counterproductive to some, but the purpose would be not to provide drivers with more distractions but instead provide less of a need for drivers to pick up their phones. Features that many cars have that could help decrease distracted driving if they were more commonplace include integrated navigation, voice text message response, and hands-free calling.

Inside NHTSA’s “Driver Mode”

The second proposal would be to implement a driver mode that restricts the use of certain applications while the device is connected to the vehicle. This mode would prevent a driver’s ability to surf the web, play games, watch videos, and read or reply to texts or emails, among other possible limitations.

Driver Mode would only allow access to the most needed features like music, navigation, and voicemail.

Steps for Preventing Distracted Driving

The proposals made by the NHTSA are just that — proposals. Car manufacturers are not required to implement these features, but there are still ways to prevent distracted driving without the help of a fully integrated car. Here are some of the most effective safe driving tips provided by the NHTSA:

  • Avoid touching or acknowledging your cell phone while driving. Consider placing it in the backseat or glove compartment.

  • Request taking over phone duties from a distracted driver if you as a passenger notice the driver fiddling with his or her phone.

  • Input your destination into your phone’s navigation system before driving off.

Your Rights if Involved in A Distracted Driving Car Accident

Unfortunately, you can do everything in your power to prevent distracted driving on your end and still get struck by a distracted driver. If you get involved in a distracted driving accident in South Florida, reach out to an experienced car accident attorney who can explain your legal options.

The Davie distracted driving accident lawyers at the Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff, P.A. are members of the Florida Bar Association and possess more than 23 years of experience. We understand the trauma that can result from being hit by a distracted driver, not to mention the financial strain from medical bills and property damage. Our team is here to help you through this tough time and guide you to compensation for all accident-related damages. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.