The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published proposed guidelines regarding states’ management of drowsy and distracted driving. The guidelines include recommendations for policy-making, law enforcement and other areas designed to help states build comprehensive programs to lower the rates of accidents caused by drowsy or distracted drivers.
To combat drowsy driving, NHTSA specifically encourages states to work with employers to reduce job-related road fatigue by allowing for shift changes or rest periods to keep drivers fresh. For purposes of enforcement, the agency suggests law officers target erratic driving behaviours that may indicate drowsy driving and which are already primary offences. To further increase enforcement ability, NHTSA is encouraging states to pass laws that ban drowsy driving.
NHTSA also calls upon both public and private employers to help fight distracted driving by prohibiting the use of wireless or electronic devices while operating a vehicle on the job. The agency calls for laws that make the use of such devices while operating a motor vehicle a primary offence in every state and asks that legislators include the practice of texting while stopped in an active traffic lane among the prohibited activities.
NHTSA’s proposed guidelines are available for review on the Federal Register, where comments may be submitted through September 22 by searching for docket number 2016-20165.