Federal transportation officials released new guidelines that encourage automakers to limit the risk of distracted driving from electronic devices built into vehicles.
Issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the voluntary guidelines recommend disabling device operations unless the vehicle is stopped and in park. That would prevent people from sending texts and browsing the Internet, video conferencing, and looking at web pages, social media content and other types of text on built-in screens while driving.
"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," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press statement.
A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that text messaging doubled the risk of a crash or near-crash and resulted in the driver's eyes off the road for an average of 23.3 seconds. Reaching for a phone, looking up a contact and dialing the number tripled the risk.
The guidelines and research are part of a federal transportation plan to end distracted driving.