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Driver phone use dangerous enough to prompt lock proposal

Kentucky motorists may be interested in learning that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that people could use extra help with not using their phones while operating vehicles. In December, the agency published a recommendation that called for the creation of a driver mode in cellphones in order to curb hazardous device usage.

The driver mode would potentially stop the phone from letting motorists do things like read, scroll or enter text, look at non-map videos or photos and go online to use websites and social media. For the safety feature to work, drivers may also have to pair their phones to their vehicles.

Because regulators haven't yet figured out ways to determine whether a specific device belongs to a driver or a passenger, motorists might also be forced to turn on driver mode of their own accord. In the future, the NHTSA wants to mandate the use of technologies that automatically activate as necessary. While the initial proposal's suggestions weren't mandatory, the agency also appealed to cellphone manufacturers to consider options that completely disabled the phone's screen functions with the exception of things like emergency services.

Although regulators work to promote new vehicle safety features, automakers don't catch up to their proposals right away. In addition, drivers who don't like the features might try to get around them so that they can continue their unsafe habits. Issues like cellphone usage while driving may not go away anytime soon, and such behaviors could contribute to truck accidents and serious personal injuries. Discussing these accidents with attorneys may make it easier for victims to build evidence that supports their lawsuits or insurance claims.

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