Ray LaHood, U.S. Transportation Secretary, stated that drivers are distracted by vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford's Sync and General Motors OnStar. LaHood runs the department that oversees the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), who has been developing guidelines, which will be published at the end of the year, for these in-vehicle systems.
These information and entertainment systems connect drivers to their mobile devices and the internet while driving. It also allows for audible GPS Navigation, Music (IPOD, CD and MP3) control and various other technological devices.
GPS systems are suppose to communicate directions to the driver and help the driver maintain their eyes on the road, instead of having the driver struggle to read from an open map. Even, if a driver misses a turn or changes course, the GPS systems immediately re-navigates and re-routes them. Therefore, there is no need to flip through a map while driving.
Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) is offered through OnStar and this device sends a signal to emergency departments when a driver is involved in an automobile accident. It allows the driver to make the call themselves and it also sends a signal when the driver is unable to make a call after an accident to contact an emergency department. ACN reduces the time it takes for the first responders to become aware of a crash, and this is critical to saving lives.
Other controls drivers have with Ford's Sync and GM's OnStar are automatic windshield wipers and headlights, Road Hazard notifications and being able to make and receive telephone calls while driving. This is called hands-free technology. It allows drivers to make and receive calls through the automobile's radio/speaker system and therefore keeps your eyes and hands on the road and steering wheel.