With one in ten driving fatalities being caused by distracted driving in 2015, the federal government is looking towards technology companies like Apple and Google to implement voluntary guidelines in how cell phones would operate while driving.
In a 93-page document released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they are requesting that mobile device manufactures create a default Drivers Mode that would simplify the user interface and limit certain features from being used while driving.
Much of what the NHTSA is looking to limit is preventing the ability to display video and images unrelated to the driving experience, scrolling text, as well as limiting non-voice to text input. Sound familiar?
Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay already provide these solutions when connected to a car stereo (or in the case of Android Auto 2.0, manually activated) the NHTSA wants this Drivers Mode to be enabled automatically while driving. So what does that mean if you are a passenger? Will they be locked out from watching a video from the passenger seat? The NHTSA doesn’t want to limit a passenger’s experience; however they want companies to develop a system that can distinguish between driver and passenger. With no current technology available to do this, one has to wonder how companies like Apple and Google will react to spending their research budgets to develop this feature.
While the guidelines published by the NHTSA are only voluntary at this point, it is clear that the government is looking into regulating how cell phones are used while driving. Even though Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are still fairly new, it is starting to look like applications such as these might become the standard in the near future.