NHTSA proposes 'driver mode' for phones

In an effort to cut down on the prevalence of distracted driving in North Carolina and across the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed new guidelines that involve blocking many phone features while driving. The new recommendations are Phase 2 of the NHTSA's Driver Distraction Guidelines.

The NHTSA recommends that phones automatically pair with an in-vehicle system whenever possible. As long as a phone is paired while the vehicle is operating, its visual features would be rendered inaccessible to prevent the driver from looking down at the device. Emergency services would still be available. In cases where phones cannot be automatically paired, the agency recommends that phone manufacturers develop a "driver mode" that could be instituted manually. Functions that could be blocked include manual text entry, videos, photos, scrolling text, text messages and access to books, social media and websites. All map functions would continue to operate normally.

For now, driver mode would be voluntary as current technology cannot tell the difference between a driver's phone and a passenger's phone. However, the NHTSA says that it wants to implement "technologies that support automatic driver mode activation" as soon as possible. In the meantime, the agency encourages all commercial and private drivers to put down their phones and focus on the the road.

Truck accidents cause thousands of debilitating injuries every year. In cases where a distracted or negligent truck driver is to blame for an accident, it may be advisable to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages. A successful lawsuit could bring a victim financial compensation for medical expenses as well as other related damages. Truck accident victims could get more information about their legal options by consulting with an attorney.

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