Sunday, February 19, 2012

Government releases Phase-I Anti-Distraction Guidelines. What will Phase-II do to your Embedded Design?

Do Not Text & Drive Public Service Ad Campaign by, regional Emmy award wining, Punch Films:

Mom:

Teen:

Guy:

Clearly as the above videos show texting while driving kills. I was almost in a head on collision myself when a texting teen was drifting into my lane of traffic. I've covered distracted Drivers, Doctors and Pilots in the past.

This week I'm covering U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announcement, on Thursday [February 16, 2012], that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced their Proposes 'Distraction' Guidelines for Automakers. The official, unoffical, PDF document: Anti-Distraction Guidelines (It is not official until it is published in the Federal Register).

The Phase-I guidelines give members of the public the opportunity to comment on the proposal for 60 days, from the date of publication in the Federal Register. Final guidelines will be issued after the agency reviews and analyzes and responds to public input. If you are concerned about how these rules will impact your Embedded Widget design, now is the time to speak up. You may submit comments by referencing docket number NHTSA-2010-0053 at the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

NHTSA will also hold public hearings on the proposed guidelines to solicit public comment. The hearings will take place in March and will be held in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

The proposed Phase-I distraction guidelines include recommendations to:

  • Reduce complexity and task length required by the device;
  • Limit device operation to one hand only (leaving the other hand to remain on the steering wheel to control the vehicle);
  • Limit individual off-road glances required for device operation to no more than two seconds in duration;
  • Limit unnecessary visual information in the driver's field of view;
  • Limit the amount of manual inputs required for device operation.

The proposed guidelines would also recommend the disabling of the following operations by in-vehicle electronic devices while driving, unless the devices are intended for use by passengers and cannot reasonably be accessed or seen by the driver, or unless the vehicle is stopped and the transmission shift lever is in park.

  • Visual-manual text messaging;
  • Visual-manual Internet browsing;
  • Visual-manual social media browsing;
  • Visual-manual navigation system destination entry by address;
  • Visual-manual 10-digit phone dialing;
  • Displaying to the driver more than 30 characters of text unrelated to the driving task.

NHTSA is also considering future, Phase-II proposed guidelines that might address devices or systems that are not built into the vehicle but are brought into the vehicle and used while driving, including aftermarket and portable personal electronic devices such as navigation systems, smart phones, electronic tablets and pads, and other mobile communications devices. A third set of proposed guidelines (Phase-III) may address voice-activated controls to further minimize distraction in factory-installed, aftermarket, and portable devices.

The problem with any 'Guideline' is that if you don't follow it, when the Lawyers show up, if they ask "Did you follow the industries best practice guidelines?" and you say 'No', you lose. So it saves 'Them' all of the hassle writing the laws. Clearly Phase-II will impact our Embedded System designs.

Is regulating behavior with technology really the slippery slope that we want to start down?