(Adds comments from chief of DOT, NHTSA, mentions rise in road
By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT Nov 23 The U.S. Transportation
Department on Wednesday issued voluntary guidelines for makers
of mobile devices, asking them to help keep eyes on the road by
developing a "driver mode" that would disable some distracting
functions in moving cars.
The guidelines also ask manufacturers to make it easy to
pair mobile devices with in-vehicle systems to facilitate
hands-free phone use.
"These common sense guidelines, grounded in the best
research available, will help designers of mobile devices build
products that cut down on distraction on the road," U.S.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press statement.
Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, said in statement on Wednesday that
driver distraction was one of the factors behind the rise of
traffic fatalities. Road deaths rose 10.4 percent in the first
half of 2016, NHTSA has said.
Phone calls, text messages, navigation systems and other
features on cellphones can be dangerous distractions for drivers
and the Transportation Department and NHTSA want to limit their
functionality when the devices are in what is termed "driver
The Transportation Department also called for ease in
pairing, which connects smart phones and cars to allow drivers
to use voice control on the devices. Phone and vehicle pairing
already are available for many new vehicles sold in the United
Both the pairing and driver mode will reduce the potential
for distraction by limiting the time a driver's eyes are off the
road, while also preserving the full functionality of the
devices when used at other times.
Major manufacturers of mobile devices used by American
drivers include Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics
An auto manufacturers trade group earlier this month urged
President-elect Donald Trump to establish a presidential
advisory committee to "coordinate auto sector regulators." The
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers also called on Trump to
conduct a "comprehensive regulatory review" of all regulations
and actions since Sept. 1, including the Obama administration's
new guidance on self-driving vehicles.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Bill Trott)