NHTSA Public Meeting on Driver Distraction Guidelines for Aftermarket Devices

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will hold a public meeting March 12 in Washington, D.C., on developing guidelines covering aftermarket devices that risk driver distraction. Last year, the NHTSA issued Phase 1 guidelines covering devices installed in new vehicles, such as “information, navigation, communications and entertainment” products that require the driver to take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. 

Under the guidelines, certain functions, such as inputting an address into a navigation system, text messaging, dialing a phone number or browsing the Internet will be disabled until the vehicle is in park while operations requiring less than two seconds and one hand to achieve will be permitted. The agency is now moving forward with Phase 2 guidance on aftermarket equipment/software. Any guidelines developed will use the Phase 1 approach, namely, that the driver's eyes should usually be looking at the road, at least one hand should be on the steering wheel, programming tasks should be interruptible at any time, with the driver controlling any machine interface, and with displays that are easy to see. 

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at