Federal auto safety regulators want devices like the iPhone to have a ‘driver mode’

Federal auto safety regulators want Apple and other makers of handheld devices to add a driver mode to modify or block certain apps and features to keep a driver’s attention on the road, according to the New York Times.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is introducing the initiative due to growing concerns about the distractions posed by smartphones and other gadgets that Americans are using while behind the wheel.

“Your smartphone becomes so many different things that it’s not just a communication device,” Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Transportation Department, said in an interview. “Distraction is still a problem. Too many people are dying and being injured on our roadways.”

The guidelines call on manufacturers like Apple and Samsung to design future operating systems that limit the functionality and simplify interfaces while a vehicle is in motion and to develop technology to identify when the devices are being used by a driver while driving, says the Times. That would ensure the limits are placed on drivers and not other vehicle occupants.