Could New Regulations Affect Cell Phones in Cars?
Traffic fatalities have been on an encouraging downward trend over the past forty years. It wasn’t until 2015 when we saw the largest spike in traffic deaths in four decades. The possibility of a fluke was ruled out as data shows that this year is looking even worse. Traffic safety analysts have their fingers pointed at the biggest culprit: distracted driving. In reaction to these findings the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging phone makers to crack down on the problem.
Feds suggest blocking features while a vehicle is moving
Federal safety officials are concerned about the number of people who are using their smartphones while driving. The average commuter could agree that it is easy to spot people driving while their eyes are locked down on their phones. Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a statement asking smartphone makers to block distracting features in moving vehicles. The proposal highlights a suggested mode which would block videos, texting, and many apps while the user is driving.
The proposal was met with immediate opposition from phone makers. Apple and Samsung said the suggestion is an extreme reaction to the problem. They highlighted that it would block the future invention of technology which could help users make better decisions while driving. Phone makers do no need to comply with the NHTA because their legal authority does not control device makers, only vehicle makers.
Distracted driving deaths are on the rise
Unfortunately there is no doubt that distracted driving is on the rise. Last year resulted in an 8.8 percent increase in distraction-related crash deaths. This means that 10 percent of fatalities in car accidents are due to a distracted driver. Yet federal traffic safety analysts fear that these numbers are much lower than the reality of the situation. The statistics might be off because most police officers do not currently check phone usage during the time of an accident.
The rise in distracted driving has not only NHTSA concerned but the Department of Transportation. This past October the Department of Transportation stated that they will be working with the National Safety Council with the goal to eliminate all roadway fatalities within 30 years. The initiative is called “Road to Zero.”
While the goal seems lofty, the Department of Transportation believes that it is achievable through improving seat belt usage, enforcing truck safety, installing more rumble strips, and focusing on changing driver behavior. Also the introduction of automated vehicles appears to be a light on the horizon for increasing safety through new technology.