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DoT Releases Guidelines to Reduce Distracted Driving Accidents

Shortly after our lawyers published the latest blog entry on the subject of distracted driving on Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a new set of manufacturer guidelines that they believe will reduce in-car distractions and hopefully reduce the incidence of personal injury or wrongful death as the result of distracted driving accidents.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary released the new guidelines to encourage auto manufacturers to limit the potential risk of distraction when designing electronic devices for their vehicles. “Combined with good laws, good enforcement, and good education, these guidelines can save lives,” said the Secretary, “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.”

Issued by the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the guidelines recommend specific criteria for designing the electronic devices that are installed in vehicles going forward, and include proposed limits for the amount of time drivers must take their eyes off the road, or their hands off the wheel. The DOT also recommends that in the future several electronic operations should be disabled within vehicles unless the vehicle is stopped or in park, including all video entertainment, media browsing, and manual text entry systems to name a few. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; U.S. Department of Transportation)

Our attorneys known that roughly 400,000 people were injured in accidents caused by distracted drivers last year alone. In response to this growing social and economic toll, the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been spearheading their Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving plan in the United States for the past three years, and are hoping these guidelines will lend further momentum to their cause. (Distraction.gov)

More and more adolescents and young adults now have cell phones and social media electronics, and their lack of experience behind the wheel makes them especially vulnerable to the deleterious effects of taking their eyes of the road. Although distracted driving is a problem for the entire population, it is important to emphasize safe driving skills to children early on, and educate them of the responsibilities that come with operating a vehicle in order to make our future safer than our present.

Our lawyers have recovered more than $520 million for our clients since our office opened 21 years ago, including a number of settlements for car accident victims. Even if you are a safe driver, others may not follow the rules of the road. When people are injured as a result of the reckless actions of others, our attorneys may be able to provide help for you and your family when you need it most.