No More Distracting In-Car Electronics, Says NHTSA

The nifty electronic gadgets in new vehicles might be limited in the future, if officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) get their way. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), officials want navigation devices, entertainment devices and communication devices all kept to a minimum to reduce the risks of distracted driving accidents.

“Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives,” said Ray LaHood with the DOT.

Our Naples car accident lawyers understand that Florida is one of the only states left in the country that has yet to enact and kind of distracted driving law. That’s right. Drivers in the state of Florida are still allowed to talk on their cell phone, send and receive text messages, shoot out emails and event surf Facebook and other social media sites, all while trying to navigate on our busy roadways. Because drivers are still participating in these dangerous activities, distractions continue to be a leading cause of car accidents nationwide — especially here in the state of Florida.

According to, there were more than 3,330 people killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 416,000 injured in 2010.

Now, the NHTSA has issued voluntary guidelines to help make sure that unnecessary distractions are ousted from new vehicles. All of the devices that require a driver to take their hands off of the road to use for more than two seconds at a time and 12 seconds total fall under the guideline. This includes:

-Any kind of manual text entry.

-Any kind of video-based entertainment or communication devices.

-Any kind of display that requires you to look.

These recommendations come with the findings of a new study, The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk. Researchers were able to prove in this study that these kinds of tasks increase a driver’s risk for an accident by nearly three times.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of drivers who think that they can do it all behind the wheel. They think they’ve been driving long enough to multitask. The truth of the matter is that our brains aren’t designed to multitask. Where we think we can split our attention between tasks efficiently, the truth of the matter is that our brains are only shifting from one task to another. We can’t have our full attention on two things at once. This means that our driving attention is going to fail while we’re paying attention to electronic devices in our vehicle.

Regardless of whether these regulations are put in place, we have the ability to change. There’s never a phone call or a text message that should be worth risking the lives of motorists — including our own. Stay safe out there and keep your eyes on the road.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, if you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Florida Drivers in Support of Text Message Ban, Survey Says, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 17, 2013

More Lee County Traffic Fatalities in 2013, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, April 25, 2013

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