The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is concerned about the effects of distraction on motor vehicle safety due to drivers’ use of electronic devices. Consequently, NHTSA is issuing nonbinding, voluntary Driver Distraction Guidelines (NHTSA Guidelines) to promote safety by discouraging the introduction of excessively distracting devices in vehicles.

This notice announces the issuance of the final version of the first phase of the NHTSA Guidelines. This first phase applies to original equipment (OE) in-vehicle electronic devices used by the driver to perform secondary tasks (communications, entertainment, information gathering, navigation tasks, etc. are considered secondary tasks) 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).

The NHTSA Guidelines list certain secondary tasks believed by the agency to interfere inherently with a driver’s ability to safely control the vehicle. The NHTSA Guidelines recommend that in-vehicle devices be designed so that they cannot be used by the driver to perform these inherently distracting secondary tasks while driving. For all other visual-manual secondary tasks, the NHTSA Guidelines specify a test method for measuring eye glance behavior during those tasks.