From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Voluntary Car Distraction Code On the Way

A voluntary code regarding how much distracting technology is acceptable in automobiles in Canada could be finalized by automakers in the next few months, said Peter Burns, chief of ergonomics and crash avoidance for Transport Canada in a recent article in the Ottawa Citizen.

For drivers, that could mean that dashboards are about to get a little less cluttered. And a lot more usable.

At stake is the fate of In-Vehicle Telematics Devices, or on-board navigation systems, entertainment systems and even climate-controlling systems, all featuring video screens and scrolling menu controls.

According to the Citizen, the goal of the impending code will be to regulate where these devices can be located on the dash, as well as the size of their screens, and how much eye deflection and time is required of the operator to use these devices. The paper also noted that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers “prefers a guideline of a maximum of 20 seconds to complete a dash task with no more than a two-second glance” while Transport Canada would prefer a 10-second task completion time with only a 1.5-second glance.

For comparison, the paper reported that in 1999, research was presented at the Intelligent Transportation System World Congress which found test subjects took more than a minute to enter a destination on their navigation systems. While performing that operation, test subjects also had their eyes off the road for 75 percent of the time and left the lane in which they were driving.

Source: Ottawa Citizen