NHTSA Targets Car Manufacturers in Fight Against Driver Distractions

May 2, 2013

Lawmakers in Florida might not be the ones to make us pay more attention to the road when we’re behind the wheel, but officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) are looking to do just that.

In the Sunshine State, there are no distracted driving laws on the books. This means that drivers can use cell phones, shoot text messages and even check their email all while driving down the road. We’re actually one of the few states left that hasn’t enacted any of these laws to help stop distracted driving. Now, NHTSA officials and those with the U.S. Department of Transportation are looking to head the problem off at the automakers.

Recently, the DOT released distraction guidelines that are going to be used to encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risks connected to electronic devices that are built into their vehicles, such as navigation, entertainment and communication systems. our Boca Raton car accident attorneys understand that these guidelines are voluntary, but have the power to prevent a lot of accidents. There were close to 3,500 people killed in distracted driving car accidents in the U.S. in 2010, according to Distraction.gov. That’s a number that’s on the rise, but could quickly be reduced if more drivers rededicated themselves to focusing on the road.

The truth of the matter is that distracted driving habits have become a deadly epidemic with some serious consequences on our nation’s roadways.

Under these new guidelines from the NHTSA, the distractions affected are those that require a driver to take their eyes off the road for two seconds at a time or for twelve seconds total. They also recommend that these devices be stopped, or shut off, unless the car is stopped and is in “park.”

These recommendations follow closely on the heels of a NHTSA naturalistic study, The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk. In this study, researchers aimed to show just how dangerous these devices are and how much they impact our visual-manual reactions. The findings in this study showed that the risks of accidents skyrocket when drivers use electronic devices behind the wheel. Cell phones and other electronic devices actually increased a driver’s risk for an accident by about three times. And many of these risks come as standard equipment in our newer vehicles.

It’s such a serious problem, that statistics show close to 20 percent of injury accidents reported in 2010 were distraction-related collisions. And these were all accidents that we’re completely preventable. There’s never a legitimate reason to take your eyes off the road and your mind off driving. There should never be a phone call, a text message or an email that’s worth a life. It’s a needless risk that could cost you.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.