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"A Car Is Not a Mobile Device"

David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said that he would challenge unsafe "infotainment" technologies that lead to the conversion of...
June 14, 2011

David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said that he would challenge unsafe "infotainment" technologies that lead to the conversion of automobiles into smartphones on wheels.

Strickland said that he was issuing a notice that a car is not a mobile device and that the federal agency would not help to make it easier for motorists to tweet or post on Facebook.

"I'm just putting everyone on notice. A car is not a mobile device," said Strickland. "I'm not in the business of helping people tweet better. I'm not in the business of helping people post on Facebook better." Strickland and his boss, Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary, have informed automakers, suppliers, wireless providers and software developers that minimizing driver distractions must be a primary consideration as the industry works to make more information services available in vehicles. According to data from the NHTSA, approximately 33,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2009 and 995 of the deaths involved drivers using cellphones.

Read more on risks of using phone while driving: NHTSA chief: "A Car Is Not a Mobile Device" (USA Today 6/9/11)