Oklahoma is one of many states that bans texting while driving. Despite tougher laws against driver distractions involving cell phones, the problem still exists. In response, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants cell phone makers to develop technology that will prevent certain smartphone activities while driving.
The proposal is for 'driver mode" to be made available on cell phones. When a phone is in this mode, users would not be able to text, watch video or use certain apps. In the future, smartphones may be equipped with the technology necessary to determine a driver from a passenger. In the meantime, a driver would put their phone into driver mode prior to starting their car as an extra measure to discourage phone use while driving.
The NHTSA also wants other new automobile technology to be involved. It has proposed in-vehicle systems that could be paired with cell phones to make driver mode a complete shutdown of the phone's visual interface. Only emergency cell phone functions would be available to a driver while operating their vehicle. The NHTSA is accepting public comments on these proposals, which are all voluntary guidelines, through Feb 3.
Distracted driving is a danger to all motorists. Car and truck accidents that are caused by distracted driving could lead to liability charges or personal injury lawsuits. In a legal case against an alleged distracted driver, passenger or eye-witness statements could be important as evidence that a driver was using a cell phone or engaged in other distracting behavior while driving.