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Driver distraction countermeasures.
In-vehicle telematics devices such as navigation systems, Internet access and cell phones are a potential threat to road safety because they can increase driver distraction and cause an increase in distraction-related crashes. These devices are becoming increasingly popular in vehicles and they are offering a greater number of features. As part of its ongoing commitment to vehicle safety, Transport Canada is investigating and developing countermeasures to protect drivers from unnecessarily distracting features on these devices. This paper describes the status of various approaches and efforts to deal with the problems of driver distraction from telematics. The first part focuses on Canadian efforts to develop distraction countermeasures and this is followed by a review of related international activities. It is concluded that a paradigm shift is required to prioritize safety and human factors rather than features during the development of these devices. Countermeasures should predominantly focus on safer design practices to ensure that the risks of driver distraction are systematically considered during the product design, development and testing process.