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Distracted Driving: US DOT Wants to Regulate Vehicle Navigation Devices

The U.S. Department of Transportation wants Congress to give its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the power to place restrictions on vehicle navigation applications. It also would like for the NHTSA to be able mandate changes to these devices if any of them prove too dangerous to use while driving.

According to The New York Times, although automakers support the proposed measure that would grant this authority, it is technology companies that have expressed opposition. The latter believes such a law would not be enforceable.

The DOT has been seeking to regulate map aids and other such applications. In 2013, the department issued voluntary guidelines telling automakers that no more than two seconds should be needed for anyone one interaction with a navigation system. The total time required to use such a device should take no more than 12 seconds. (The New York Times notes that when a car is moving at 60 mph, two seconds is all it needs to travel 176 feet.)

One reason for this is that navigation apps are becoming more sophisticated. Some, such as Waze and Google Maps, even reward users for social networking when they report road conditions and other traffic factors in real time. In addition to wanting to regulate navigation devices embedded in vehicle dashboards, the government would also like to place similar restrictions on navigation aps that are available on hand-held devices.

At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Boston personal injury lawyers represent the families of victims injured in Massachusetts distracted driving accidents and other motor vehicle crashes caused by the negligence of others. Contact us today and ask for your free case consultation.

Unfortunately, the latest vehicular and mobile technologies can distract a motorist from paying attention to the road. The use of cell phones, iPads, laptops, and navigation devices while driving has been linked to car crashes. Studies show that a key part of the brain needed for attentive driving becomes otherwise occupied when one is using these technology devices-especially mobile phones.

While navigation aps are helpful in getting someone where they need to go, it can also be easy for a driver to spend too much time fiddling with a device. The motorist may even taking his/her hands off the steering wheel (and eyes off the road) just long enough that a deadly Massachusetts car crash could happen.

It just takes a few seconds of being distracted for a Massachusetts car crash to occur. Distracted driving is negligent driving and can be grounds for a Boston personal injury case.

Agency Aims to Regulate Map Aids in Vehicles, NY Times, June 15, 2014

US Department of Transportation

NHTSA

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