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NHTSA proposes rules to curb distracted driving

New York residents may be interested to know about new NHTSA guidelines aimed at reducing instances of distracted driving. One proposal is that phones pair with an interface inside of the vehicle. When in use, it would prevent the driver from seeing anything when he or she looks at the phone. Another proposal would ask cell phone makers to create a drive mode if a phone could not be paired.

When a phone is in driver mode, many of its capabilities would be blocked. For instance, the phone would not be able to display video, text or photos except when a map function is being used. It would also prevent automatic text scrolling and any other capability generally not needed while driving. This would include using social media or other sites with the phone. However, emergency calls and emergency notifications may still come through.

While the NHTSA says that a driver mode would need to be manually activated for now, the technology to do so automatically could be available in the future. Currently, these rules are voluntary and are part of the second phase of its distracted driver guidelines. The agency will be taking public comments on its proposals until Feb. 3.

Distracted driving is a type of negligence that causes far too many accidents each year in New York and around the country. When it is a truck driver that is distracted by a cellphone, the results could be catastrophic to occupants of smaller vehicles involved in the collision. People who have been harmed as a result of this type of behavior may want to meet with an attorney to see what recourse may be available for seeking damages from the at-fault driver and his or her employer.

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