Guidelines Could Result in Reduction of Cell Phone Use Behind the Wheel

Little seems to be working in regards to convincing drivers not to use their cell phones behind the wheel of their cars. Steep fines, stiff penalties—all ultimately not enough to convince drivers that texting while driving doesn’t pay. In response to rising deaths from crashes caused by distraction, the US Department of Transportation has generated new guidelines for mobile phone manufacturers that would prevent drivers from using their phones in unsafe ways while a car is operating.

Distracted driving continues to take a startling number of lives every year. In 2015, 10% of all those killed in accidents, or 3500 people, died in a crash in which at least one of the drivers was distracted at the time of the crash. After concluding that something had to be done to curb this serious problem, the federal regulators at the Department of Transportation began to develop guidelines which could result in safer phone technologies making it to the market.

The Department of Transportation’s guidelines suggest that, for phones which cannot be operated by a driver using the entertainment system built into the vehicle itself, manufacturers should install something known as “driver mode,” possibly to be enabled automatically when a car shifted from “park” into “drive.” While a phone is in driver mode, the driver would be unable to use such apps as Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook, and would be unable to play videos on their phone. While the driver would be able to continue using map-based navigation programs on the phone, they would not be able to enter text manually while the car was in motion. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated that “far too many [Americans] are put at risk by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones. 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.”  While the guidelines have garnered support from safety advocacy groups such as Consumers Union, the policy branch of Consumer Reports, cell phone manufacturers feel that the guidelines constitute overreaching by regulators and have vowed to push back against them.

If you have been hurt by a distracted driver in Alabama, contact the determined, experienced, and effective Dothan personal injury lawyers at Cobb, Boyd, White & Cobb for a free consultation at 334-677-1000.