NEW YORK ( Minyanville) -- While texting in transport provides web-procrastinators endless amusement (thank you viral video star Bonnie Miller, your phone, and Lake Michigan), it's also generally agreed that on-the-road smartphone use has become the biggest threat to automobile safety since New Orleans introduced the drive-through Daiquiri shop. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway and Safety Administration reported that in one year, more than 5,000 people were killed and an estimated 448,000 were injured in crashes that involved distracted driving. If United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood had his way, there would be legal limits on the amount of permissible dashboard buttons, a Web access ban and restrictions on GPS device access. In February of this year, LaHood introduced his three-part "federal proposal" of suggestions for automakers to help curb distraction potential. The voluntary guidelines include ensuring that one hand is always left free for steering, restricting the entry of text when the car is in motion, and limiting dashboard text prompts to 30 characters. The LaHood guidelines promote a less-is-more approach to securing driver safety.
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