The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) is teaming with the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), along with major automotive OEMs and suppliers, to develop recommendations on the driver distraction problem developing within the automotive industry. In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, Dr. Harold W. Worrall, chairman of the board of directors of ITS America, said ITS America has created a task force, that includes SAE and AAM, to explore voluntary industry guidelines on the design, integration and operation of telematics devices; to set up a national education program to teach drivers how to use telematics and electronic devices safely; and to identify relevant research and strategies governing this issue. Colleen Serafin, chair of SAE's Safety and Human Factors Committee, explained that SAE is working in four areas related to driver distraction. These areas include: (1) A guideline that proposes a methodology for prioritizing incoming messages to assist the driver in managing the volume of incoming information; (2) A measurement protocol for visual demand that recommends an approach for performing and documenting future research; (3) Recommendations for the minimum driver interface requirements of adaptive cruise control (ACC) and forward collision warning (FCW) systems that would promote consistency, understandability and ease of use; and (4) A guideline describing protocol for determining functions of navigation systems that are accessible to the driver while the vehicle is in motion. SAE, through its SAE Strategic Alliance (SSA), has been addressing the driver distraction issue for a number of years. Driver distraction is becoming a more prominent issue in automotive safety due to the increased use of electronic devices in automobiles such as cell phones, global positioning systems (GPS), pagers, and personal digital assistants (PDA) units. SSA partners such as Delphi Automotive, Visteon, Motorola and Ford Motor Company have been actively working to develop technology that will minimize the steps needed to use electronic devices in vehicles, reducing driver workload and distraction. SAE has also developed a special exhibit, in cooperation with its SSA partners, on driver distraction and has sponsored a special panel on the question of driver distraction. Both events took place at the SAE 2001 World Congress, held in Detroit, Michigan, in March. For more information on SSA and/or the driver distraction issue, call SAE at 724-776-4841 or visit