US regulators want featureless 'driver mode' for smartphones

US regulators want featureless 'driver mode' for smartphones
With the increase in traffic fatalities the past two years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is doing its best to come up with ways to reduce them. One of the proposed methods is to limit the smartphone distraction for drivers, by implementing a 'driver mode' feature.

NHTSA will issue voluntary guidelines for smartphone makers, describing what the said mode should be, so drivers can stay connected, yet focused on the road. The guidelines propose smartphone manufacturers to limit some features and simplify the interface of their devices during driving. They also suggest that manufacturers should find ways to detect when a smartphone is in use while driving.

“Your smartphone becomes so many different things that it's not just a communication device,” said Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Transportation Department. “Distraction is still a problem. Too many people are dying and being injured on our roadways.”

Foxx also commented that only a portion of the tech industry recognizes the threat apps and devices pose to drivers and there isn't a single opinion, backed by the entire sector. This could become a problem, if different developers and manufacturers implement different levels of distraction limitations.

For example, Niantic's Pokemon GO would urge you not to play, if you're moving at about 10 miles per hour or faster, but other games that are just as distracting, have no such features. This could trick a driver into thinking they're okay playing the game, without realizing that it's a severe distraction.

We honestly think that using any app while driving is a horrible idea, unless its your navigation app or music streaming service. And Bluetooth headsets exist for a reason. We urge you to employ common sense on the road and stay safe!

source: New York Times



1. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

I agree that their should be some sort of streamlined driver mode and that people shouldn't use their phone while driving. I would also suggest we require auto companies to include bluetooth connectivity as a standard option with an accompanying app that could sync the phone to the car once the car is started.

2. LilJokr unregistered

Sounds like you're just looking for was to not pay for a premium package.

3. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

The NHTSA has required all cars to have backup cameras as standard by 2018 so i don't see why they can't do the same for bluetooth. I already own a car where i had to pay for that option so i am not opposed to paying for Bluetooth but whether its an optional item or comes standard people need to use some common sense.

4. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

He is right, all new cars should have to have Bluetooth connectivity and all cars should have to have backup cameras.

7. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Oh yes, let's drive the price of cars up with unnecessary features that might not benefit everyone.

6. xondk

Posts: 1904; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Unfortunately yeah, many people don't use the various drive modes appropriately, add distractions and point becomes moot, or so it seems, generally a thing I could agree on, people need less distractions while driving not more. I mean heck the vast majority of stuff those distractions do, could EASILY wait until you are done driving.

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