Ainsman Levine, LLC

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NHTSA urges driver mode for cellphones

Distracted driving is of increasing concern to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it has released some recommendations with the second phase of its Driver Distraction Guidelines. One common distraction for Pennsylvania drivers is their cellphones, and the NHTSA suggests that in-vehicle systems be created that could lock down many mobile phone features.

Alternatively, cellphone manufacturers could develop a driver mode, which would accomplish essentially the same thing as an in-vehicle system. Driver mode would prevent drivers from being able to go online, visit social media sites or enter text manually.

In driver mode, certain functionality would still remain. Drivers would still be able to make emergency phone calls and access emergency services in this limited state. Additionally, they could still access driving directions, and images and videos related to maps would still display on mobile devices. The technology does not currently exist that can determine if someone is in the driver or passenger seat of a vehicle, so these are just suggestions from the NHTSA.

While these guidelines are not mandatory, commercial trucking companies may want to impose these types of limitations on their drivers. Semi truck accidents can cause enormous physical harm as well as damage to the vehicles involved, and this can be far beyond what a regular vehicle could cause. As a result, it is essential that truckers pay strict attention to the road, and employers may be liable if they are not ensuring that their employees are driving safely. If someone has been in a crash involving a commercial truck, a trucking company may be liable for compensation for accident costs, and a lawyer could assist an individual in determining their legal options.

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