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Take GPS's Word For It, Checking The Maps Could Get You In An Accident

April 14, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 219

The Highway Transportation Safety Administration is a legislative branch that oversees laws that apply to driver safety. Recently, they have published a hefty new update to address the changing technology that is becoming more and more mainstream. Automated in-dash electronics available on the market include DVD players, GPS, music and telephones. Importantly, one of the changes that are being implemented may render GPS as we know it obsolete.

They have accused the use of GPS tracking devices of being contributors to distracted driving. They have found that the peripheral motion of the display screen's maps, as well as the direct and intentional visual referencing of the maps, increases the amount of time that the eyes of the driver are away from the road. When vehicles are traveling quickly, they can cover a great deal of distance in only a few seconds. It is in these seconds that a car could switch lanes, something could blow into the path of the driver's vehicle, of into the path of one of the vehicles around them, causing them to swerve. Just because nothing resembling an action film isn't happening at the time of glancing away doesn't mean that an action film is about to start.

The changes they want to make to GPS systems to eliminate this distraction is pretty drastic. In existing GPS devices, the maps swivel around the display as the vehicle changes its physical direction, so that regardless of whether the vehicle is facing north or west, the little vehicle icon is always pointed to the top of the screen. The guidelines that the Highway Transportation Safety Administration is putting in place will require that the maps don't move - the vehicle will.

While this might impact manufacturers, and ultimately, the interface design being used, it won't necessarily even seem like a big change to most consumers. It would be relatively difficult to find someone who didn't believe reading a map while driving divides the driver's attention. Perhaps some particularly daring drivers do this, but most do not, because it isn't possible to do without getting in an accident. This is the reason that turn-by-turn voice navigation was designed in the first place. In the past, when going on long trips where a map might be needed, the driver would commission a copilot to pour over the maps from passenger seat, and shout instructions. One would assume that turn-by-turn voice navigation was the next stage of this technology.

A true fleet tracking enthusiast, Tracy Liedman has worked for over 10 years as a fleet manager for commercial fleet operators and has garnered a vast experience with different types of GPS vehicle tracking solutions.

She likes to stay informed on the most recent developments in the industry, having an almost academic interest in GPS technology and typical system architectures.

Source: EzineArticles
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Highway Transportation Safety


Vehicle Tracking


Fleet Tracking



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