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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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The Two-Second Driving Rule Takes On Another Meaning in Safety

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The “two-second” driving rule is a “rule of thumb” maintaining that a driver should ideally stay at least two seconds behind another vehicle that is directly in front of the driver's vehicle. This practice has shown to dramatically reduce the risk of an auto accident, and the severity of an accident should one occur. The two-seconds is a safety buffer allowing a driver time to respond to an unexpected change, such traffic back-up, road debris, or a driver suddenly hitting their brakes.

Now, the “two-second” terminology addresses another important factor for drivers; this one to curtail distracted driving.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) says driver distractions of more than two seconds are more likely to cause an accident. According to Ellen Bloom, Senior Director of Federal Policy for Consumers Union, "Distracted driving has become an epidemic on the road. The problem isn't limited to drivers who text on their smart phones. There's a serious concern about in-dash controls that may be very distracting when you're behind the wheel.”

This week, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it wants automakers to limit their in-vehicle communication systems in an effort to curb distracted driving accidents. These guidelines are aimed at getting automakers to focus on safer tools in the dash that take less of your attention away from the road,” said Bloom.

The proposed guidelines are based on a study that showed tasks requiring drivers to look at touch screens or hand-held devices increased the risks of an accident by three times with texting, web browsing and dialing a phone the tasks keeping drivers’ eyes off the road the longest. The proposal recommends the ban of three devices that could distract the driver for more than two seconds.

  • Manual text entry for the purposes of text messaging and Internet browsing;
  • Video-based entertainment and communications like video phoning or video conferencing;
  • Display of certain types of text, including text messages, web pages, social media content.

Although the recommendations are voluntary, the Federal government is asking automakers to phase in the guidelines within three years. But, Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said the guidelines will have little impact. “We’ve tried voluntary. Voluntary doesn’t work,” he said.

What do you think? Are in-vehicle communication devices distracting? Should the NHSTA proposed guidelines be mandatory? How would you recommend putting an end to the dangerous practices leading to distracted driving?

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.