DOT to carmakers: Disable dashboard distractions

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Safety regulators are urging carmakers to design dashboard technology like text-messaging and Internet browsing so that it will be automatically disabled when a vehicle is in motion.

The Transportation Department released the proposed technology guidelines Thursday in its latest effort to combat distracted-driving.

In recent years automakers have been loading high-end cars with an array of built-in gadgets, causing concern that drivers' attention will be diverted from the road.

Electronic warning systems that alert drivers to potential collisions or lane changes would be exempted from the disabling recommendation.

The guidelines also include recommendations on how to make dashboard devices less distracting and time-consuming to use.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the guidelines are a major step forward in the government's campaign to reduce distracted driving.