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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.