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NHTSA proposes systems that would prevent cell phone use

New Jersey roadways might become safer if some new proposed recommendations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are implemented. The proposals are not mandatory, but they could help to reduce the risk of accidents caused by drivers who are distracted by their cell phones.

The NHTSA is recommending that cell phone companies and automakers work together to develop new in-vehicle systems that could pair with smartphones. These systems would prevent drivers from being able to read the screens of their phones while they are driving so that they are not tempted to look down at them. Since some phones wouldn't be able to be paired, the NHTSA has alternatively recommended that cell phone makers develop a driver mode, which would disable drivers' abilities to use many of the features on their phones.

According to the proposals, driver mode would prevent phone users from being able to read blocks of text, watch videos, view scrolling text or look at photos. Maps would be exempted from the driver mode. People would also not be able to search the internet, send or read text messages or use social media while driving. The driver mode would be manual, meaning that it would be up to the driver to turn it on.

Driver performance declines significantly when a driver is distracted by his or her cell phone. People should avoid using their cell phones while they are driving for any purpose. When drivers cause accidents because they were looking at their cell phones, they may be liable for paying damages to any people who were injured as a result. Injured victims might want to consult with personal injury attorneys about their rights in such cases.

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