Feds suggest two-second rule for driver distractions

US Transportation Department offers automakers voluntary guidelines to limit in-car communication systems. Drivers distracted for more than two seconds are more likely to have an accident.

Charles Dharapak/AP/File
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood briefs reporters at the White House in Washington in February. On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation announced guidelines for in-car communication systems, which it says can distract drivers if not properly designed.

The Department of Transportation wants automakers to limit their in-car communication systems in an effort to curb distracted driving accidents.

On Tuesday, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced new guidelines it wants auto companies to follow as they develop in-car communication systems. NHTSA recommendations are designed to limit how long a driver takes their eyes off the road to no more than two seconds at a time.

"I think people using cell phones while driving is dangerous," said Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation. "These guidelines are based on the best data and best information we have." (Read MoreGM's Wi-Fi Move Brings the Connected Car Closer)

The guidelines are voluntary for the automakers and do not require changes to infotainment and communication systems immediately. However, the Federal government is asking automakers to phase in the guidelines within three years.

The NHTSA proposal calls for automakers to ban three pieces of technology that could distract the driver for greater than two seconds.

•Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and Internet browsing;

•Video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing;

•Display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages, social media content. (Read More10 Classic American Muscle Cars)

The NHTSA recommendations are based on a study the federal government conducted looking into distracted driving. The study found drivers who have their eyes diverted from the road for greater than two seconds run a three times greater risk of getting into an accident.

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