Using a cellphone while behind the wheel is a major contributor to distracted driving. Whether motorists are making phone calls, sending messages or looking up directions, this use of mobile devices is almost always dangerous. These drivers may soon have to adhere to some new rules, however, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims it will begin regulating smartphones that interact with vehicles.
According to The Detroit News, the NHTSA said at a congressional hearing that it will issue voluntary guidelines for smartphone use in automobiles in early 2014. Although many automakers have been waiting for the organization to address the issue, some are also concerned that the regulations will be too limiting, which in turn could cause drivers to skip over vehicle integration and only use handheld devices.
"It is an evolving area of technology," David Strickland, NHTSA administrator, told the news source. "We believe these systems have the ability to find the margin of safety and still keep innovation ... We believe these systems have the ability to provide comfort, information [and] entertainment as long as they are done in a safe way."
Hands-free use of cellphones could go a long way toward avoiding collisions and auto repair, but until the regulations are released, it is difficult to predict how drivers will react.