Government asks manufacturers to implement limits on in-car gadgets

This morning, we reported on a study by the Texas Transporation Institute, which claimed that the hands-free techology in some vehicles that allows drivers to use their gadgets without taking their eyes off the road are still as dangerous as manually firing off a text message. Following this is a request by the federal government that manufacturers put limitations on the Internet-connected technologies they put in their vehicles.

Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary, made a statement on the guidelines the government asks auto makers to commit to, saying: "These guidelines recognize that today's drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives."

Specifically, the government is seeking that auto makers disable the majority of technology used in a vehicle that connects to the Internet while the car is in motion, limiting most of its use to parking lots and stop lights. While this sounds good in theory, the Auto Alliance trade group responded with its concern, saying that disabling the technologies could prompt drivers to switch back to using their handheld devices while driving.

The Auto Alliance cited an NHTSA finding published earlier today that the tasks associated with manually using a portable device, such as a smartphone, put drivers at a risk about three times higher than normal of crashing. It says that such a limitation implemented by auto makers would need to be accompanied by an addressing of the portable device issue, otherwise the results could be worse.

[via Washington Post]