BMW 650i NHTSA aims to create federal safety guidelines for in car technology

Infotainment systems and navigational equipments all make the experience of being in a car more enjoyable, but not necessarily safer.  It’s great to have an MP3 player built into your car, but is it necessary to have an in-dash system that can surf Facebook or check Twitter?

BMW 650i NHTSA aims to create federal safety guidelines for in car technology

It only takes a split of a second to cause an automobile accident, but the general consensus among automotive makers is that tasks not related to handling a vehicle when behind the wheel should not “take longer than two seconds.” 

Infotainment systems and navigational equipments all make the experience of being in a car more enjoyable, but not necessarily safer.  It’s great to have an MP3 player built into your car, but is it necessary to have an in-dash system that can surf Facebook or check Twitter?

According to wired.com, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is aiming to create national distracted-driving guidelines for automakers.  These guidelines may possibly reflect popular behind the wheel habits such as talking on the phone without a handless device, or it may also include regulations on how an infotainment device operates when a car is in motion. 

There is currently no exact “blueprint” on how manufacturers should develop or integrate their in-dash technology, and so many automobile makers are still considering the two second distraction rule.  However, if the NHTSA aims to propose some federal guidelines for an in car technology such as an infotainment system then Gloria Bergquist—spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers—suggests that a “single set of guidelines should address all of these devices…[and] not go device by device.”

According to NHTSA’ Deputy Administrator Ron Medford, writing a single guideline for in car devices may cause ambiguity between devices that might not be included in the guidelines.  For instance, a smartphone that acts as a remote for controlling an infotainment system may not be considered as a part of the guideline since it is not listed as part of the device.  Therefore, a more general guideline will be more useful as it applies to both of the devices that are causing distracted driving. 

The NHTSA’s intention to make guidelines that encompasses general unsafe driving practices doesn’t mean that it’s trying to make it hard on automakers. 

“We can and will do both, we’re moving towards finalizing the guides for automakers on in vehicle electronic devices that provide the features consumer want without…sacrificing safety by distracting the driver,” Medford told the press at Telematics Detroit.

Medford’s choice of words may possibly imply that the NHTSA will cooperate with automakers, and vice versa, to create a system that not only provides safer in-car driving conditions, but also appeases to what consumers want—checking Facebook status updates while driving.