NHTSA proposes "driver mode" for phones

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released guidelines to reduce distracted driving in California and across the United States. The agency recommends that cellphone manufacturers create a "driver mode" that blocks many of a phone's distracting functions when someone gets behind the whee of a car or truck.

Under the guidelines, pairing a phone with an in-vehicle system would render its visual functions inoperable to stop drivers from looking down at their phone. However, emergency services and emergency notifications would continue to function. For phones that do not link to the in-vehicle system, the agency recommends a "driver mode" that temporarily locks many of the phone's functions, including manual text entry, displaying video, displaying photos, automatic scrolling text, displaying text messages and the use of books, social media apps and web pages. All visual map functions would still be available.

Because technology is not yet advanced enough to tell the difference between drivers and passengers, the "driver mode" would be voluntarily turned on. However, the NHTSA believes that automated technology will become available in the near future. The agency is seeking public comment on the proposed guidelines through Feb. 3.

Collisions caused by negligent truck drivers, including those who are distracted by their phones, cause thousands of injuries in the U.S. each year. Some truck accident victims choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other related damages. They could learn more about their legal options by discussing their case with an attorney.

Source: Overdrive Online, "'Driver mode' proposed by NHTSA to lock certain cell phone features while driving," Matt Cole, Dec. 6, 2016

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