U.S. extends comment period on proposed distracted driving regs
DETROIT -- U.S. regulators have decided to extend the comment period on distracted driving guidelines by 24 days after an auto industry trade association asked for more time to review the feds’ proposal, according to a notice to be published Wednesday in the Federal Register.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 12 automakers, including the Detroit 3, asked for the extension to give it more time to respond before the voluntary guidelines are firmed up.
In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the long-awaited recommendations, which call on manufacturers to avoid built-in features that are dangerously distracting to a driver while a vehicle is in motion. They include center-stack features that require a driver to punch-in numbers or text while driving.
At the time, the agency provided a 60-day comment period that was to end today. The comment period has been extended to May 18.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has made cracking down on distracted driving a signature initiative. In 2010, 3,092 people, or 9.4 percent of road fatalities, were killed in crashes related to driver distraction, according to NHTSA.
The nonbinding guidelines also call on automakers to disable Internet browsing, 10-digit phone dialing and the ability to enter addresses into built-in navigation systems unless the driver has put the car in park.
The agency also is considering recommendations for handheld electronics brought into the car, as well as voice-operated technologies that promote activities, such as hands-free calling and texting. Those guidelines are due out at a later date.