The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants drivers to do nothing but drive when they're behind the wheel. No texting. No cell phone use. No GPS. The agency's latest attempt to accomplish that goal is a series of voluntary guidelines for vehicle manufacturers, including a recommendation that distracting devices built into vehicles are automatically turned off unless the vehicle is stopped and the transmission is in park. Necessary safety devices would not be included in the changes.
We think the NHTSA is forgetting a few things in their recommendations. It's not always drivers who are using GPS units or other electronic devices in a vehicle. Passengers are often the ones using such things. In addition, the guidelines address only devices that are built in to vehicles. There's still no way to keep drivers from using their own portable GPS?units or other devices.
Would federal officials rather a driver try to unfold a road map to see where he's going than use a touch-screen GPS?unit? There are better ways, such as hands-free devices and continuing education, to help drivers maintain safety while on the road. Do we want drivers texting, sending e-mails, or surfing the web while behind the wheel? Absolutely not. But the more Big Brother government gets involved, the more worried we become.