Carmakers Encouraged To Implement Safer Navigation Systems

A recent article in the New York Times highlighed the potential dangers of dashboard entertainment and navigation systems and their potential to distract drivers.

The federal traffic agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is strongly encouraging carmakers to consider designing and implementing navigation systems in a safer manner. The NHTSA has suggested a list of voluntary guidlines in order to help manufacturers develop and adhere to safer standards. 

The article mentions that even though many dashboard navigation and entertainment units are voice-activated, they still do require a bit of hands-on use, thus posing potential safety risks.

While the aforementioned proposed guidelines are not mandatory and will not eradicate all distracted driving, the NHTSA is taking a step in the right direction and their efforts have been recognized and praised by other federal agencies such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Motorcycle Fatalities Down Two Percent According to Governors Highway Safety Association

According to a report released on April 19, 2011, by the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcycle fatalities dropped by two percent in the first nine months of 2010. However, this may not represent a lasting improvement in safety, officials warn. While there were 80 fewer motorcycle deaths from January to September, 2010, the number of fatalities began to creep up in the last three months of 2010.

Since the 1990s, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled, peaking in 2008 with more than 5,300 deaths. In 2009, when the economy declined, motorcycle fatalities dropped by 16 percent. A spokesman for the governors safety group observed that recreational motorcycle riding dropped when the recession was at its height, which may explain why accident deaths plummeted. However, now that the economy is on the rebound, there is concern that fatalities will also increase.

The vice-president of Motorcycle Riders Foundation stated that rising gasoline prices have resulted in greater motorcycle use.

Fewer riders were wearing federally-approved, impact-absorbing helmets in the first nine months of 2010. At the same time, "novelty" helmets which are lightweight and offer little protection have become increasingly popular.