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DOT Draws Up In-Car Tech Limits

2/17/2012 10:56:26 AM Eastern
Washington - The U.S. Department of Transportation put forth recommended guidelines for auto manufacturers for certain in-vehicle technologies, namely those that require drivers to avert their eyes from the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "the proposed voluntary guidelines would apply to communications, entertainment, information-gathering and navigation devices or functions that are not required to safely operate the vehicle." They would not include electronic warning system functions, such as forward-collision or lane departure alerts, it said.

The guidelines would establish specific recommended criteria for electronic devices installed in vehicles at the time they are manufactured that require visual or manual operation by drivers. The first recommendations include reducing the complexity and task length required by the device, reducing the amount of time needed to manually input info, and limiting device operation to just one hand.

Other recommendations include limiting individual off-road glances "to no more than two seconds," and limiting "unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view."

The guidelines also recommend that many visual/manual operations (such as texting, Internet browsing and navigation systems) be disabled unless the car is in park. 

The NHTSA said it's considering future guidelines that address devices that are brought into the vehicle, as well as those that address voice-activated controls.

Click here to see the full guidelines.
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