MORE HANDS-FREE TECHNOLOGY LIKELY
IN FUTURE CARS AMID RISE IN ACCIDENTS
Car makers are continuously being pressured to work miracles. In the 1950s, automobile manufacturers began making vehicles with fiberglass body construction to enhance efficiency and speed capabilities. At the turn of the millennium, auto makers were encouraged to create more fuel efficient vehicles in the wake of expensive gas prices. Now, since the proliferations of the mobile device culture, auto manufacturers are facing pressure to put forth technology to reduce car accidents caused by mobile device usage behind the wheel.
Motivation to take action
The U.S. Congressional authorities and federal agencies are well aware of the dangers and rise in auto accidents caused by instances such as texting while driving. According to statistics from 2011, 387,000 U.S. drivers and passengers were injured as a result of distracted driving behaviors.
And, a new NHTSA study shows that drivers performing “visual-manual tasks” such as using portable devices while behind the wheel are three times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than drivers not distracted with mobile products. The study also revealed that drivers talk an average of 10.6 percent of the time while behind the wheel of a car.
As a result of the continuous data on the negative effects of distracted driving, lawmakers are taking proactive measures and encouraging auto makers to implement “two-second” safety technology in future vehicles. Essentially, they are hoping that car manufacturers can come up with technological devices that can help drivers and allow them to only take their eyes off of the road for only two seconds-the time before the odds of getting into an auto accident proliferate.
The specific technology is still in the works. However, legislatives are hoping auto makers will install future safety technology that include:
- Communication devices: These include hands-free phones, GPS navigation equipment and DVD players
- Information ensembles: This includes devices that allow for surfing or obtaining information from the web
The United States Department of Transportation, the federal agency known as USDOT that oversees U.S. transportation matters, hopes car manufacturers implement the changes within the next 3 years.
Currently, however, the guidelines are strictly voluntary. The DOT intends to examine additional research on the causes and seriousness of distracted driving.
However, given the continued increase in auto accidents relating to such behaviors, it’s likely these safety vehicle requirements will be mandatory in the near future. Just like seat belts that were once viewed as voluntary, vehicle technology for distracted driving mitigation may one day be required.