If the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration gets its way, roads in Florida and around the country may become safer. In late 2016, regulators issued a call asking cellphone manufacturers to help limit distracted driving incidents by giving their products a new driver mode. When turned on, this setting would stop motorists from entering text, reading content like websites and engaging in other tasks that make driving more hazardous.
As proposed, the early versions of the regulations still had some kinks that needed to be ironed out. The NHTSA suggested that phones that were paired to vehicles automatically have their screens disabled except for in emergency situations, but it admitted the possibility that some phones may not support pairing. In such cases, the driver mode would kick in, but regulators haven’t quite worked out how the phone would be able to tell whether it was being used by a driver or a passenger in the same vehicle.
According to an NHTSA administrator, the agency has been trying to get motorists to stop using devices behind the wheel for some time. Nonetheless, distracted drivers continue to contribute to ongoing increases in road fatalities.
Device usage is a serious problem for truck drivers as well as those behind the wheel of passenger cars. Many truck accidents are the result of truckers who were distracted in some fashion, and they often result in catastrophic injuries to occupants of smaller vehicles that are involved in the collisions. Attorneys for injured victims could review the truck driver’s cellphone records to see if that type of distraction was the cause of the accident.