There are two types of technology in cars: tech that distracts us while driving, and tech that helps us drive more effectively and safely. These two distinctions are important to make when considering a new vehicle. Many of the vehicles of the future, and some that are already on the market, will be equipped with high tech devices, from GPS to sensors that detect when a person might hit something.

Technology such as GPS devices, music players, and integrated phone and messaging technology might be all the talk in the car industry, but what cost does this have in lives and injuries. According to a report, nearly 3,000 people died in 2011 because of distracted driving, and 387,000 were injured. These numbers show that more can and should be done to prevent distracted driving car accidents, and that is what the Department of Transportation hopes to accomplish with new guidelines.

The guidelines that the DOT will release are related to devices that manufacturers could install in vehicles. They want manufacturers to consider making devices that would require a driver’s attention for no more than two seconds at a time for a task, in order to minimize the distraction the device causes.

Although these guidelines aren’t mandatory to follow, they could help raise awareness among manufacturers of the need for more simplistic devices. No matter what types of guidelines are in place, it is still important that driver pay attention to the road and work to reduce distracted driving related accidents. Drivers are primarily responsible for the use of their cars and the technology they choose to pay attention to instead of focusing on driving.

Source: CNN, “‘Two second’ safety guideline for cars of the future,” Mike M. Ahlers, April 24, 2013