Concerned that driver distraction plays a role in a high percentage of automobile accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been waging an ongoing campaign to reduce driver distraction. As part of this campaign, in June 2012, NHTSA released its Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving, describing NHTSA's past and ongoing efforts to curb distracted driving. Among other goals, the blueprint sets forth NHTSA's plans to issue three sets of guidelines aimed at limiting driver distraction from electronic devices.
On April 26, 2013, NHTSA released final guidelines for in-vehicle electronic devices, the first of the three planned sets of guidelines. Visual-Manual NHTSA Driver Distraction Guidelines for In-Vehicle Electronic Devices, 78 Fed. Reg. 24,818 (Apr. 26, 2013). The new guidelines recommend restrictions on drivers' use of built-in electronic devices that require visual-manual operation. "Visual-manual operation" refers to any task that requires a driver to look at the device, operate it by hand, and then wait for a reaction to his or her input.