The recommendations, published in the Federal Register would block in-vehicle communications by a driver, including texting, dialing, Internet browsing, and even entering a GPS address by hand. It wouldn't block handheld personal devices --- yet.
Automakers have continued to add functionality to cars that increase distractions. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has long been concerned about these "features." According to the NHTSA, distracted driving contributed to 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2009 and 20 percent of crashes that caused injuries.
While automakers would be allowed to add such functionality, the features would be restricted from working while a vehicle is in motion. That would include features such as access to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, manual texting, Internet browsing, 10-digit phone dialing and the ability to enter addresses into a built-in navigation system for drivers --- all restricted if the car is in motion.
In a statement, DOT Secreatary Ray LaHood said "Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America's roadways – that's why I've made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused behind the wheel. These guidelines are a major step forward in identifying real solutions to tackle the issue of distracted driving for drivers of all ages."
The public has 60 days to comment on the recommendations. Public hearings will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. in March.