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Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Electronic Devices

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Electronic Devices

Daniel C. Smith
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
February 12, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 29 (Wednesday, February 12, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8533-8535]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03064]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0137]


Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable 
and Aftermarket Electronic Devices

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Announcement of public meeting.

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SUMMARY: Through this notice, NHTSA is announcing a public meeting to 
bring together vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, portable and 
aftermarket device manufacturers, portable and aftermarket device 
operating system providers, cellular service providers, industry 
associations, ``app'' developers, researchers, and consumer groups to 
discuss technical issues regarding the agency's development of Phase 2 
Driver Distraction Guidelines for portable and aftermarket devices.

DATES: Public Meeting. NHTSA will hold a public meeting on March 12, 
2014, in Washington, DC. The meeting will start at 1 p.m. and continue 
until 5 p.m., local time. If you would like to attend the public 
meeting, please contact the person identified under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT no later than March 3, 2014. If you would like to 
present technical remarks, please contact the person identified under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT no later than March 7, 2014.
    Remote Viewing. Remote viewing will be available via web, please 
check http://www.distraction.gov the day before the meeting on March 
11, 2014 for instructions on how to connect.
    Written comments. Please submit all written comments not later than 
May 12, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Meeting. The March 12, 2014, public meeting will be held at 
the U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, 
Media Center--Room W11-130, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590. This facility is accessible to individuals with disabilities.
    Written comments. You may submit comments to the docket number 
NHTSA-2013-0137 by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number. Note that all comments received will be posted without 
change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal Holidays. Telephone: (202) 366-9826.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit 
http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.
    Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any 
information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three 
copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim 
to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 
at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In 
addition, you should submit two copies, from which you have deleted the 
claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the 
address given above. When you send a comment containing information 
claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a 
cover letter setting forth the information specified in our 
confidential business information regulation (49 CFR Part 512).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions about 
registering for the public meeting, please contact Dr. Julie Kang, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, email: julie.kang@dot.gov; telephone: (202)

[[Page 8534]]

366-5677; facsimile: (202) 366-8546; mail: National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590.
    For questions about technical issues concerning the Phase 2 Driver 
Distraction Guidelines, you may contact Dr. Christopher Monk, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, email: chris.monk@dot.gov; telephone: (202) 366-5195, 
facsimile: (202) 366-8546; mail: National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue Southeast, West Building, 
Washington, DC 20590. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for more detail.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Registration is necessary for all attendees. 
Please provide the following information to Dr. Kang no later than 
March 3, 2014: Name and affiliation, and please indicate whether you 
require accommodations such as a sign language interpreter or 
translator. Space is limited, so advanced registration is highly 
encouraged. As noted in Public Meeting Procedures, attendees will be 
given the opportunity to offer technical remarks but there will not be 
time for attendees to make audio-visual presentations during the 
meeting. Attendees wishing to make technical remarks should register 
with Dr. Kang by March 7, 2014. Note: we may not be able to accommodate 
all attendees who wish to make oral remarks. Should it be necessary to 
cancel the meeting due to inclement weather or other emergency, NHTSA 
will take all available measures to notify registered participants.
    You may learn more about the current (Phase 1) NHTSA Guidelines by 
visiting the Department of Transportation's Web site on distracted 
driving, www.distraction.gov, NHTSA's Web site, www.nhtsa.gov, or by 
searching the public docket (NHTSA-2010-0053) at www.regulations.gov.

Background

    NHTSA is concerned about the effects of driver distraction on motor 
vehicle safety. Crash data show that 17 percent (an estimated 899,000) 
of all police-reported crashes involved some type of driver distraction 
in 2010. Of those 899,000 crashes, distraction by a device or control 
integral to the vehicle was reported in 26,000 crashes (3% of the 
distraction-related police-reported crashes).
    In June 2012, NHTSA released a ``Blueprint for Ending Distracted 
Driving,'' summarizing steps that NHTSA intends to take to eliminate 
crashes attributable to driver distraction. This document was an update 
of the ``Overview of the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration's Driver Distraction Program'' that was released in 
April 2010 (both documents available at www.distraction.gov).
    One of the steps called for in both of these documents is the 
development of nonbinding, voluntary guidelines for minimizing the 
distraction potential of in-vehicle and portable devices. Since 2010, 
NHTSA has stated that guidelines would be developed in three phases. 
The first phase covers visual-manual interfaces of electronic devices 
installed in vehicles as original equipment and was released for public 
comment in February 2012. The final version of the Phase 1 Distraction 
Guidelines was published in April 2013. The second phase will include 
visual-manual interfaces of portable and aftermarket devices. NHTSA is 
currently developing its proposal and this public meeting will inform 
that proposal. The third phase will expand these guidelines to include 
auditory-vocal interfaces.
    In 2013, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) initiated a 
Working Group to develop industry-based recommended practices for 
portable electronic devices used by drivers in vehicles (formally named 
R6 WG18 Driver-Device Interface Working Group). The voluntary 
recommended practices are intended to address the issue of driver 
distraction related to the use of portable electronic devices. The 
recommendations are intended to be used by consumers, portable 
electronic device manufacturers, software developers, and any other 
interested parties to improve the safety of driving and non-driving-
related task performance. NHTSA was invited to participate in this 
activity and has sent liaisons to the working group meetings since its 
inception. To aid this process, NHTSA has provided explanations and the 
rationales for aspects of NHTSA's Visual-Manual Driver Distraction 
Guidelines, as well as participated in discussions regarding applying 
those basic principles to the complex multi-part ecosystem of portable 
electronic devices. The working group has stated that it will use the 
principles that NHTSA established with its Phase 1 Guidelines to guide 
its work.

Driver Distraction Guidelines

    The NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines are meant to promote safety 
by discouraging the introduction of excessively distracting devices in 
vehicles. On April 26, 2013, NHTSA issued the first phase of these 
guidelines.\1\ The Phase 1 Guidelines cover original equipment (OE) in-
vehicle (i.e., integrated) electronic devices that are operated by the 
driver through visual-manual means (i.e., the driver looks at a device, 
manipulates a device-related control with his or her hand, and/or 
watches for visual feedback from the device). The Phase 2 Guidelines 
will apply to portable and aftermarket devices that are operated 
through visual-manual means and will be based on the same general 
principles as the Phase 1 Guidelines, namely:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 78 FR 24817 (Apr. 26, 2013).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     The driver's eyes should usually be looking at the road 
ahead,
     The driver should be able to keep at least one hand on the 
steering wheel,
     Any task performed by a driver should be interruptible at 
any time,
     The driver should control the human-machine interface and 
not vice versa, and
     Displays should be easy for the driver to see.

Public Meeting

    To support NHTSA's development of the Phase 2 Distraction 
Guidelines, NHTSA is hosting a public meeting to bring together vehicle 
manufacturers and suppliers, portable and aftermarket device 
manufacturers, portable and aftermarket device operating system 
providers, cellular service providers, industry associations, ``app'' 
developers, researchers, and consumer groups to discuss technical 
issues regarding the agency's development of Phase 2 Driver Distraction 
Guidelines for portable and aftermarket devices. NHTSA will present an 
overview of the Phase 1 Driver Distraction Guidelines as background for 
its presentation on the key technical issues in Phase 2. Industry 
associations will have the opportunity to present their own efforts to 
produce guidelines or recommended practices for portable and 
aftermarket devices that could be used by drivers inside the vehicle. 
The meeting will also include three panels of invited experts 
addressing the following technical topics: (1) vehicle and portable/
aftermarket device pairing, (2) driver mode, and (3) advanced 
technologies such as heads-up displays and those that automatically 
distinguish between devices used by drivers and passengers.
    The meeting will be open to the public, but participation in the 
expert panels will be limited and by invitation only in order to ensure 
that all of the topics can be addressed in the time available. However, 
the floor will be open to those attendees who pre-registered to offer 
brief technical

[[Page 8535]]

comments. Anyone, including those persons who wishing to supplement 
their oral comments, may submit written comments.

Draft Agenda

    1. Welcome and Opening Remarks
    2. Technical Background for the Phase 2 Distraction Guidelines--
NHTSA
    a. Phase 1 Distraction Guidelines Overview
    b. Technical Approach to the Phase 2 Distraction Guidelines
    3. Industry Efforts--Industry Associations
    4. Panel 1: Pairing
    a. Introduction of the topic--NHTSA
    b. Invited technical experts on pairing
    c. Questions and discussion by NHTSA and panel members, and remarks 
from attendees
    5. Break
    6. Panel 2: Driver Mode
    a. Introduction of the topic--NHTSA
    b. Invited technical experts on driver mode
    c. Questions and discussion by NHTSA and panel members, and remarks 
from attendees
    7. Panel 3: Advanced Technologies
    a. Introduction of the topic--NHTSA
    b. Invited technical experts on advanced technologies
    c. Questions and discussion by NHTSA and panel members, and remarks 
from attendees
    8. Wrap-Up--NHTSA

Panel Topics

    NHTSA has identified three major areas related to portable and 
aftermarket devices that the agency would like to discuss at the public 
meeting. The first topic is that of pairing devices with the vehicle's 
electronics, whether through wired or wireless connection. Many newer 
vehicles already offer this capability and NHTSA sees it as an 
important topic to address. The second topic is related to unpaired 
devices, and the implementation of ``driver mode'' on the device. 
Driver mode is a simplified user interface that is intended to minimize 
distraction experienced by a driver using that device. Finally, a third 
topic relates to a broader set of questions surrounding advanced 
technologies, including heads-up displays and the capability of 
portable and aftermarket devices and the vehicle system to 
automatically distinguish whether a device is located in the driver's 
position or a passenger's position. The invited panelists will be asked 
to speak to the following topics and related issues.
    1. Paired--NHTSA wants to hear views on using pairing of portable 
and aftermarket devices as a means for focusing the drivers' 
interactions through the in-vehicle controls and display system. NHTSA 
is also interested in learning about new developments in the pairing or 
connecting of devices with the vehicle's electronics, and how pairing 
or other similar technologies that connect devices and the vehicle will 
progress into the marketplace.
    2. Driver Mode--NHTSA would like input on current and future driver 
mode systems. Specifically, what are the potential barriers and 
proposed solutions faced by mobile carriers, operating system 
providers, and application developers to adapt an overall system where 
all applications available in driver mode offer a simplified user 
interface? NHTSA is interested in any general information on the usage 
rates of current driver mode implementations. In addition, NHTSA would 
like to hear about any driver modes that are automatically initiated 
when the vehicle is moving.
    3. Advanced Technologies--NHTSA is eager to learn about new 
developments in portable device technologies that use advanced display 
features such as heads-up displays and how they relate to the scope of 
the Phase 2 Guidelines. NHTSA is also interested in technology to 
determine the location of portable and aftermarket devices within the 
vehicle, thereby automatically determining whether the device is 
operated by the driver versus passengers while driving.
    The panels will be made up of invited technical experts from 
vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, portable and aftermarket device 
manufacturers, portable and aftermarket device operating system 
providers, cellular service providers, industry associations, or 
``app'' developers that can provide information and insight on the 
selected topic. It is envisioned that each panel will have three 
speakers, each speaking for about 10 minutes, with an additional 20 
minutes for discussion between panelists and NHTSA, and prepared 
technical remarks from attendees.
    Background information concerning the Driver Distraction Guidelines 
in particular and the problem of distracted driving in general is 
available at http://www.distraction.gov/.

Public Meeting Procedures

    NHTSA will conduct the meeting informally. Thus, technical rules of 
evidence will not apply. We will arrange for a written transcript of 
the meeting. For planning purposes, attendees that wish to make 
technical remarks after each panel should anticipate speaking for 
approximately five minutes, although we may need to shorten that time 
if there is a large number of people wishing to provide remarks. Once 
we learn how many people have registered to provide technical remarks, 
we will allocate an appropriate amount of time to each speaker, 
allowing time for necessary breaks. We request that you bring three 
copies of your technical remarks or other material to the public 
meeting. To accommodate as many speakers as possible, speakers will not 
be able to use audio-visual aids or computer slideshows. Attendees 
wishing to provide supplementary written information should submit it 
to the address given above for written comments by the May 12, 2014, 
deadline for those comments. Written statements and supporting 
information submitted during the comment period will be considered with 
the same weight as oral comments and supporting information presented 
at the public meeting.

    Issued in Washington, DC under authority delegated by 49 CFR 
1.95.
Daniel C. Smith,
Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety.
[FR Doc. 2014-03064 Filed 2-7-14; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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