In-car devices of many types are being investigated by the National Highway
Transportation Secretary Administration (NHTSA) to see if they pose a safety threat to drivers.
NHTSA confirmed to CEoutlook that it’s conducting research on devices including Bluetooth hands free kits and navigation products as well as in-car devices in general, but it wouldn’t comment further.
Transportation secretary Ray LaHood told reporters earlier this week that NHTSA is investigating whether hands free devices or technology like the Ford Sync poses a “cognitive distraction” to drivers. LaHood, however, said the agency won’t call for restrictions on these devices until the government conducts further research.
“We base our solutions on data, and before I or anyone else gets up and starts talking about ‘hands free this’ or ‘hands free that,’ or Sync or whatever, we want to have good data to back it up,” LaHood said, as reported the Detroit News.
Some earlier research showed that drivers can become distracted even when using hands free devices because the act of talking on the phone itself is a distraction, not just holding the phone. Other research said distraction from dialing and operating the phone is far greater than simply talking.
Ford said in the past that its Sync reduces driver distraction.
NHTSA also pointed out to us that it is working with car companies to find safe ways to use devices in cars.
LaHood’s comment came days after Consumer Reports released a study that found that 63 percent of people under 30 years old said they’ve used a handheld phone while driving in the past 30 days, and 30 percent of them texted while driving during that period. The statistics for older users showed 41 percent used a handheld phone while driving and 9 percent texted while driving.
Source: CEoutlook and The Detroit News
Photo via Reuters
Chart: Source Virginia Tech Transportation Institute