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Smartphone Navigation And Maps Applications Could Soon Be Regulated By The Transportation Department

June 16, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

 

Congress seems to be on a mission to get laws into place that would seek to regulate the use of navigation apps while driving, which is something they already have in place for in-car mounted navigation systems. The Transportation Department wants to cut down on the possibility of drivers being distracted, due to use of smartphones and mobile devices to find directions or use the navigation apps to get them where they need to go. Many newer vehicles today already come equipped with Navigation systems built in as standard, but there a lot of older vehicles including models from just a few years ago that don’t have these built in, so the other option would be to purchase a standalone GPS Navigation system or have a nav system installed which isn’t exactly cheap.

This is an area where Google and other tech companies have capitalized on by offering up applications that can get the job done just as easily, and for free, requiring only that the user have a connection to data for the navigation and directions to work. Applications like Waze, Google maps, Apple Maps and others may soon be facing regulations from the government if lawmakers seek to put something into play. Regulations or laws that take the use of maps applications into consideration wouldn’t seek to prohibit the use of them entirely, but would most likely come with certain restrictions that would limit the legal use of such applications while behind the wheel. It isn’t clear just yet what exactly those regulations might be as the Transportation Department is merely starting the process of requesting that such regulations be written into law by congress.

While some in the technology industry fear that it might give the power and authority to regulators to review apps and if they felt necessary, order a change before it was allowed to be released, congress is apparently stating changes would only be allowed if an app was found to be dangerous. Most maps applications though are set up to receive voice commands so that no touch interaction with the device is required. This begs the question if such laws or regulations that put restrictions on Maps applications is really something that’s needed.