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DOT Proposes New Guidelines to Address Driver Distraction

It's obvious to anyone who drives that we and our fellow drivers are more distracted than ever before. Of course cars now have screens, internet access, mapping, satellite radio and other modern gadgetry, but it is mobile devices that still pose the biggest danger.

Now the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently announced a second phase of proposed voluntary guidelines to help address driver distraction.

A challenge to manufacturers and designers

These guidelines are designed to encourage manufacturers and tech designers to create products that, if used while driving, reduce the chance of driver distraction. This can be done through such features as creating a driver mode with a simplified interface or linking up with the vehicle's infotainment system. The idea is to limit the amount of time drivers' eyes are off the road, thus lessening the chance for an accident or traffic fatality.

"NHTSA has long encouraged drivers to put down their phones and other devices, and just drive," said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind. "With driver distraction one of the factors behind the rise of traffic fatalities, we are committed to working with the industry to ensure that mobile devices are designed to keep drivers' eyes where they belong - on the road."

The agency is currently seeking comment from drivers regarding these new guidelines. Those interested in responding, go here to comment.

It's still not enough

With drivers on the road more distracted by devices than ever before, the guidelines offered by the NHTSA will certainly be helpful. But accidents still happen regardless, and sometimes while you are paying attention, drivers around you may be distracted and cause the crash.

The first order of business is to check to see if passengers and drivers are in need of medical assistance; dial 911 if they do. It's also a good idea to reach out to an attorney experienced in personal injury as soon as possible if there is injury, loss of life or damage to vehicles and/property. While insurance will often cover a portion of the damages or injuries, there are often out of pocket expenses (such as copays) and perhaps not enough money for a satisfactory replacement offered by the carrier. Additional compensation may also be necessary if there is injury or even loss of life.

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