US Regulators Give In-car Social Media The Thumbs Down Photo:

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Trevor Collett | Apr, 26 2013 | 3 Comments

The US Transport Department has released a list of non-compulsory guidelines for in-car infotainment systems, and it has Facebook and Twitter firmly in its sights.

The regulators are urging carmakers to block the use of social media and internet browsing while a car is on the move.

The guidelines also suggest screen-based systems should feature simple instructions that only require the driver to take their eyes off the road for two seconds for one feature, and twelve seconds in total.

Department Secretary Ray LaHood compared the use of in-car infotainment to that of mobile phones, saying a similar approach was required.

“We’ve already made good progress in getting cellphones out of peoples’ hands when they’re behind the wheel. Cellphones aren’t the only distractions,” Mr LaHood said.

But the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), which represents GM and Toyota among others, has hit back at the new guidelines, saying that its own guidelines were less restrictive.

“98 percent of distraction-related accidents are due to factors other than use of the built-in system,” AAM spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist said.

The AAM also believes that restricting in-car infotainment would lead drivers to revert back to using hand-held smart phones while on the move.

Studies on driver distraction have been conducted in Australia, with the Queensland Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety claiming 22 percent of collisions and near collisions were caused by distraction.

In South Australia however, police data puts that figure as high as 50 percent.

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