US Government to Regulate Digital Devices in Cars

May 5, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings 
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. distract (v.) 
[dih-strakt] – to cause someone to turn away his attention from something and direct it to another
Example:  He could not study well because he got distracted by the loud music next door.

2. regulate (v.) [reg-yuh-leyt] - to bring under control
Example: The doctor advised her to regulate the amount of salt in her food.

3. equip (v.)  [ih-kwip] – to provide with things that are needed for a specific purpose
Example: Mountain climbers are equipped with the necessary tools to ensure their safety.

4. activate (v.) [ak-tuh-veyt] – to make something act or start working
Example: Most appliances today are activated by just a push of a button on the remote control.

5. evolve (v.) [ih-volv] – to develop slowly into another state or condition
Example: Her hobby has evolved into a good business.  

Read the text below.

To prevent more car accidents from happening, the US government plans to create regulations on the use of new car technology. 

At present, ten US states ban the use of hand-held cellphones and 35 states ban texting while driving, resulting in a 50% drop in road accidents in some states.  However, in 2011 alone, more than 3,000 people in the US were killed in distracted-driving accidents.

Experts say many deaths on the road have been caused by driving distractions such as texting, Internet browsing, and looking down to check one’s mobile phone.

But even if drivers use their phones less, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) worries that new built-in car technology may cause additional distractions.

Most new cars are equipped with built-in digital devices that can connect to the Internet and smartphones. Such devices allow drivers to access Facebook, find addresses, and use mobile apps even without holding their phones.

Car manufacturers say that driving is also much safer now because these built-in features are on the car’s dashboard.

Yet NHTSA fears the communication features may continue to endanger drivers who often activate the devices while driving. The agency has started holding public talks on how new car technology can be controlled to avoid further distractions and accidents.

However, car technology is evolving so fast that NHSTA is finding it difficult to create policies to limit each new technology’s use. Many years may pass before the regulations on some car technologies will actually become official, and by that time many other new technologies might already be in use.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that drivers must not be allowed to use devices while driving?  Why?
·         Is technology putting people’s lives at risk? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Does the government have the right to regulate the way people use technology?  Why? Why not?
How can you help spread awareness on the dangers of distracted driving?


May 5, 2012