The recent “no texting while driving” movement is a prime example of how activists and concerned drivers have tried to make roads a little safer here in Louisiana and across the country. Now the Department of Transportation has created a new “two second” safety guideline that it hopes will contribute to a decrease in the number of car accidents that occur as a result of distracted drivers.

Under the new guidelines, vehicles should be designed to allow drivers to not need to take their eyes off the road for more than two seconds at a time or 12 seconds total in a series of short glances. The new guidelines apply to any number of instruments and devices installed in newer vehicles, including phones and messaging devices, GPS and other navigation equipment, entertainment options and other technology. The guidelines would have exemptions for police, fire, military and any other emergency vehicles. A separate guideline involving hand held devices is being developed and will be released at a later date.

The DOT is hoping that the car makers will begin to adopt this new guideline over the next three years. The importance of implementing this guideline cannot be understated: in 2011 alone 3,000 people were killed and almost 400,000 people were injured as a result of distracted driving.

Drivers have a duty of care to other motorists with whom they share the road: if they breach this duty by driving distracted or otherwise recklessly, and an accident results, they may be held liable for damages resulting from their negligence. A legal professional may be able to help Louisiana accident victims pursue a claim against negligent or distracted drivers and hold them accountable.

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