Remember the frustrating old days of trying to drive while reading, or having a co-passenger read, a map that may or may not have helped you find your destination? Well if some in Congress have their way, those days may be coming back. You see language in the draft Transportation bill that will soon be considered in Congress would give the National Transposition Safety Administration new power to regulate apps like GPS, Google Maps, and Waze.
Potential federal regulations including limiting driver's ability to input information while the car is in motion, or requiring people to certify they are a passenger before being able to use the device making people click a button saying that they are a passenger. The regulations will start with GPS devices installed in a car, but eventually will apply to smart phones, tablets, etc.
The justification for the regulations is..... (wait for it).......SAFETY. But before Congress gives the National Highway Administration this new power they should ask themselves these questions:
1. Is there an epidemic of accidents caused by drivers distracted by GPS and GOOGLE Maps?
2. Will making it more expensive and difficult for drivers to use these apps increase the use of paper maps which may be more distracting--and thus dangerous-- than their electronic counterparts?
3. Does Congress have the Constitutional power to regulate our apps?
Answers: No, Yes, No.
(Hat tip: Reason magazine.)
Tags: Regulation, transportation