Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the NHTSA have ensured that the Distracted Driving problem has remained at the forefront of their road safety message. Their aggressive approach and the setting up of numerous public campaigns and Distracted Driving Summits have kept the Distracted Driving problem prominent in the public’s awareness.
Much of the intial focus of these campaigns was on the dangers of cellphone use and texting while driving, and we have subsequently seen the introduction of related legislation in many states.
With the increasing use of in-car technology and computers, LaHood has now signaled a move to broaden the scope of Distracted Driving regulations.
Quoted on the Chicago Tribune website, LaHood says:
“I’m going to stay on my soapbox,” LaHood said. “By the end of the year, we will release a study on the cognitive distractions caused by a radio, cellphones, by GPS, by any number of other things that people now have in their cars. We’re going to get to a place where consumers will have adequate ways to control the distractions in their vehicles.”
Australian road rules already specifically prohibit use of visual displays that can distract the driver, and similar legislation exists in other countries. While much of the emphasis of U.S. regulations has to date been on cellphones, it seems likely that statements such as this indicate a broadening of the rules to specifically cover use of computers, laptops and similar devices.
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