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Feds are asking phone makers to block features for drivers

As smartphone technology develops at light speed, distracted driving is no longer just texting. Now phone users can drive while they navigate, read Facebook, check the weather, get caught up on the news and view their daily schedule. Phone features are evolving quicker than manufacturers can consider the repercussions. Safety analysts are concerned as distracted driving begins to skyrocket.

Driving safety analysts are asking phone makers to choose safety for customers

Distracted driving caused 3,500 deaths last year, an 8.8 percent increase from the previous year. The ever growing amount of distracted drivers has caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to take action. The federal highway-safety officials are asking smartphone manufacturers to take action against distracted driving deaths. They have created a proposal requesting that phone makers block certain features while a car is moving. Features include video, texting, and social media apps.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposes a "driver mode" which could limit functions until the vehicle is brought into park. This would limit the use of dangerously distracting phone apps such as Facebook and Snapchat. Snapchat is under scrutiny for causing serious freeway accidents.

The app can track your speed, displaying your miles per hour on the screen. Last year a teen in Atlanta used Snapchat to record driving at 113 miles per hour before crashing into an Uber driver. The accident sent him to the hospital with a traumatic brain injury. He is now seeking compensation from her with the help of an attorney.

Distracted driving might be worse than we think

While distracted driving accident cases have risen, overall traffic fatalities have had their largest spike since 1966. The large jump has many analysts thinking that distracted driving statistics might be undercounted because police officers usually do not check if a phone was in use during the time of the crash. The true amount of distracted drivers might be even worse in Missouri because the state does not ban the use of hand-cell phones for drivers. Drivers under the age of 21 are banned from text messaging while driving, while all other drivers are free to text and drive.

While blocking some features might prevent such accidents, smartphone makers are in strong opposition to the proposal. They say that putting such extreme guidelines on technology could ruin chances for technological innovation. They say that such restrictions will cause a huge backlash from consumers. How would you react to phone feature restriction while driving?

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