Government Wants Phone Makers to Lock Out Most Apps for Drivers

Texting AppsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US, has published a set of guidelines that will help phone manufacturers to lock out or disable most apps for drivers. The administration also wants the technology to be implemented in a way so that in-car infotainment systems and smartphones can be paired.

Driver would still be able to make phone calls but the phone and the automaker’s system will work together to make sure that all other apps are locked out. This includes texts, books, photos and videos. Navigation systems can be permitted, but under certain guidelines.

Crashes caused by distracted drivers are on the rise. The government says that 3,477, or about 10 percent, of the more than 35,000 traffic fatalities last year involved distracted drivers. That is an increase of 8.8% over 2015. Traffic deaths increase 10.4% the in the first 6 months, and rose 7.2% last year, after declining for years.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a statement

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.

Implementing the Tech

Such technology does not exist universally right now, but some automakers have implemented it. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pair smart phones to touch screen allowing limited use of phones Microsoft Lumia phones switch to Driving mode when they pair with an in-car Bluetooth (audio) device. General Motors have 40 models of vehicles worldwide that has Android and Apple pairing.

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But these did not exist any guidelines before this that applied to all automakers and phones. NHTSA will take public comment for 60 days before deciding whether to put the guidelines in place. The fundamental direction would to be keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road and have minimal interaction with the phone via voice.


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