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New Federal Guidelines Could Restrict In-Car Navigation Systems

NHTSA blames distractions for 17% of all crashes.

by on Mar.26, 2012

DoT Sec. Ray LaHood is pressing for a strict crackdown on distracted driving.

As federal regulators move forward on plans to put new distracted driving regulations in place it’s quite possible that future rules would bar the use of in-car navigation systems – at least as we know them today.

In fact, many of the basic features that buyers are coming to expect – and that manufacturers are pushing, much to the delight of their accounting departments – could be severely restricted or even barred entirely.

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Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration contends that of nearly 900,000 crashes reported to police in 20, 17% involved some form of distracted driving.  Of that figure, 3%, or 26,000 crashes, involved “a device/control integral to the vehicle,” according to NHTSA.  That could cover anything from a poorly placed switch for an SUV’s rear windshield to the controls for a 14-way power seat.

But much of the focus is on infotainment technology, including such systems as onboard navigation and SMS text messaging.