The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration want drivers focused squarely on their driving, not handheld devices or hands-free devices, even the ones that come with their new car.

That’s right, the NHTSA is asking all vehicle manufacturers to limit the ability of drivers to access any and all distracting information via their in-car, on-board systems while the vehicle is in motion. The NHTSA cites statistics which they show that the use of handheld and hands-free devices has been leading to more vehicle crashes on our nation’s roadways. The solution, they say, is in preventing drivers from accessing that information, either by banning the use of handheld devices or, in the case of on-board systems, building new cars in such a way that the embedded system becomes inactive when the vehicle is moving.

Specifically, the NHTSA guidelines ask manufacturers to prevent drivers from sending or looking at text messages; browsing the Internet; tweeting or using social media such as Facebook; entering information in navigation systems; entering 10-digit phone numbers; or receiving any type of text information of more than 30 characters unrelated to driving.

You don’t need to graduate traffic school to understand the dangers of distracted driving (although traffic school is never a bad idea!) When a driver is distracted by anything their attention is taken away from the road ahead of them which can cause a traffic crash. In the past drivers have been involved in roadway collisions because they were distracted by the radio or even opening a candy bar. Today it is mostly hand-held and even hands free devices which allow them to talk, text or even fetch driving directions, while they are driving.

Taking your eyes off the road for even a moment is all it takes for something bad to happen. The car in front of you stops short, a child darts in front of your vehicle or someone runs a red light and you don’t know what happened until you wake up later in a hospital–if you’re lucky.

Auto manufacturers have agreed to work with the NHTSA to find a way to make cars safer by better integrating software meant to help drivers, not hurt them.

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