Feds Want to Make Your GPS Useless

The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency published new guidelines for reducing driver distractions on the road. One of those guidelines is to make GPS systems as we know them useless. They believe the maps that move along with the movement of your vehicle are distracting, and that they should remain static, which makes no sense. In that case, you may as well use a map, or an atlas, which would be even more distracting.

Thanks to CNET for picking up on this.

Every current installed navigation system uses the caras a fixed point, and shows the map moving around it. NHTSA wants that changed so as to keep the map fixed. Even showing the position of the car moving on the map could be considered a dynamic image. The recommendation seems to suggest that the position of the car could only be updated every couple of seconds. Likewise, the map could be refreshed once the car has left the currently displayed area.

This recommendation would essentially make navigation unusable. The system could still give an auditory warning for the next turn, but without being able to glance down at the map and see how close the next street is would likely lead to a lot of missed turns and resultant frustration.

And although NHTSA includes the results of driver distraction studies in the guidelines, it has no testing directly related to using a navigation system. Instead there are more general conclusions against any tasks that require looking at a device for periods of more than 2 seconds, or a series of glances that amount to more than 12 seconds at at time. (Read More)

So they’ve created a problem that didn’t exist, and solved the problem by creating a problem. Just another day in the life of a government bureaucrat.