U.S. Transportation Department may try to regulate your smartphone navigation

U.S. Transportation Department may try to regulate your smartphone navigation
Right now seems to be a troubling time for technology regulation. There are already threats to net neutrality rumbling in the FCC, and now there is a report that the U.S. Transportation Department may be aiming for stronger regulatory control over mobile navigation systems in cars and on your smartphone. Of course, the Transportation Department claims it only wants to intervene in cases where the apps pose a danger to those on the road. 

The idea breaks down to this: in-car navigation systems have "suggested regulations" to limit distracted driving, this includes voluntary rules that limit interactions with systems to two-seconds for each interaction and sixteen seconds total. The Transportation Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration already think that they have the power to enforce these rules, but there is nothing officially written into law yet, and they want that changed. 

The agencies also believe that these restrictions would extend to smartphones and navigation apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing Maps, and Waze. Safety advocates say that there need to be standards across all navigation systems, or else people would tend to use hand-held devices , which would be "less effective than looking at a larger screen on the dashboard." One issue that the agencies would like to be able to look at would be right at the heart of Waze: the crowd-sourced data. Waze explicitly says that it is against the terms of service for people to submit reports to the service while driving, but the only real safeguard is a pop-up where you have to tell the app that you're a passenger. 

Of course, this issue also essentially proves the point of the critics to these proposed new regulations, which is that they would be nearly impossible to enforce, and would be far too easy to be abused by lawmakers and police. As yet, there are no laws being up for discussion, but various groups are pushing Congress to start considering the issue. 

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14 Comments

1. wilsong17 unregistered

the question is are the consumer going to sanction this

7. PBXtech

Posts: 1032; Member since: Oct 21, 2013

Average consumer is clueless and spineless.

10. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

It is not whether the consumer will sanction the move. It is about whether business will sanction the move. In the U.S. at least, we live in a corporatocracy - where everyone exists to serve the corporation. Consumers exist to consume goods and services provided by corporations until they die, and then their families consume burial/cremation services and the cycle repeats itself. In a corporatocracy, the consumers are generating massive amounts of data on what they do and where they go. This data is in turn mined by corporations to provide services and products for the consumers to consume. Take away a source of the data (by the proposed regulations), and the corporations start to suffer. Look at the math - 59 minutes, 44 seconds total out of a trip length of say 1 hour x 200 million is a lot of consuming data that is lost and can never be retrieved (and this is but one scenario; there are others that are worse). No ads get served, no products gets considered, no goods or services get consumed. Restrictions are not going to be implemented. Carbon cap and trade has a better chance of becoming implemented that this scheme. There are too many existential threats to too many corporations in this scheme.

2. 14545

Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

Awesome, we need even more government regulation......... Clearly we aren't over regulated and taxed enough.

4. hurrycanger

Posts: 1760; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Yup. It's awesome. I love them regulations.

3. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

More revenue......

5. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

This is quite stupid. What about passengers using the navigation system... Is it going to be regulated without reason too?

6. hurrycanger

Posts: 1760; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

They're going to do something like: "To prove you're a passenger, type retype the words as shown. Because the driver won't be able to type all these words while driving." That's gonna be fun.

8. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

To be honest, I consider myself a good driver, though I do use my phone while driving, it always stays as second priority behind driving itself... I have never cause an accident because of this and I am aware that not all people have the same ability to "multitask"...... but I use Navigation systems quite often and I DO look at the map from time to time besides voice guidance... it takes the same fraction of a second just as you would do by looking at the mirrors... and my Country, specifically my City is one of the hardest cities to drive in, almost completely anarchic when it comes to traffic, with little to no respect of sings, lights, lanes, pedestrians, etc... large numbers of potholes, motorcyclist driving between lanes and so on..... having learned that way I consider myself to have develop great reflexes, skills and ability to operate the phone without getting distracted by it... as opposed to countries where the law is actually respected and need not these "skills". Anyway I am not debating the whole "right/wrong" thing around this, I am just disappointed that everybody gets punished internationally because of the U.S.T.D. And at the end I think this is going to cause more accidents with people trying to bypass whatever regulations get approved. I.E. people driving will try to type the requested word to "prove" they are passengers... I do like how Waze politely remind you that you shouldn't type unless you are a passenger..

11. andynaija

Posts: 1258; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Totally agree, I'm the same way as well, I just don't put my full focus on navigation most of the time I just drive until I hear about a turn or instruction then I look at the map. What country are you from by the way?

12. hurrycanger

Posts: 1760; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

I look at my phone once in a while in the car, too. Most of the time the screen is off, but sometimes I wanna check where I'm gonna turn next or how long or whatever it is. It doesn't take long, just a sec for whatever information I need at a time. "I.E. people driving will try to type the requested word to "prove" they are passengers..." yup, you just completed my whole idea. It's the same thing you said, this is going to cause more accidents with people trying to bypass stuff.

9. techloverNYC

Posts: 601; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

This is literally and exactly the samething they did to those on car GPS. You guys know those GPS that don't allow you to navigate when you are moving (while in motion) to avoid distraction. This makes those on GPS useless now for many. I know some car service drivers bought their own separate GPS now, just because you can use it anytime without stopping first.

13. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

I've a mounted tablet in my work truck, it handles my dispatched calls an GPS to where people are in need of help. I am allowed by law to use it while driving, though it makes me feel guilty to do so, usually I won't until stopped, my phone is off limits. Professional driver or not, I do not let myself be distracted. Though each day, I have to honk at least two times at people drifting into my lane or not going on green lights. Is frustrating, people are only filling themselves that they can do both,well.

14. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

Filling, should read, fooling.

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