Posted: Feb 16, 2012 3:02 PM
Source: Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - Auto dashboards are becoming an arcade of text messages, GPS images, phone calls and web surfing, the government says, and it's asking carmakers to curb those distractions when vehicles are moving.
Manufacturers have been loading up higher-end vehicles with an array of built-in gadgets in an effort to tempt car buyers who want to multi-task behind the wheel in today's increasingly connected society. But the technological advances have raised concerns that drivers' attention is being diverted too much from the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday proposed voluntary guidelines for manufacturers, including a recommendation that they design dashboards so that distracting devices are automatically disabled unless the vehicle is stopped and the transmission is in park.
"We recognize that vehicle manufacturers want to build vehicles that include the tools and conveniences expected by today's American drivers," said NHTSA Administrator David 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."
Gloria Bergquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said carmakers will review the guidelines, which have a 60-day comment period. She noted that the industry has had its own voluntary guidelines since 2002.