Business

The U.S. government wants to regulate Google Maps & all other car navigation apps

Above: A highway traffic jam.

If the U.S. government has its way, the Transportation Department will have full oversight over apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze.

The Obama administration’s proposed transportation bill would allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to regulate all types of vehicle navigation aids, including smartphone apps and smart dashboard systems. The agency could set restrictions and demand changes if the apps appear to threaten in-car safety, reports the New York Times.

Some tech firms have loudly protested the pending legislation. They argue the laws would be impractical to enforce in a rapidly changing market with tens of thousands of navigation apps.

“How can any regulatory authority hope to effectively police such a complex environment?” Timothy McGuckin, CEO of road toll payment startup GeoToll, asked in an op-ed on The Hill.

To mollify tech companies’ concerns, officials clarified that the Transportation Department wouldn’t seek to review apps before they hit the market. But it would have the authority to demand changes to an app it deems dangerous, much like it regulates the mechanical features of cars.

The government doesn’t have immediate plans to issue a strict set of rules, however. A variety of proposals could make their way into the highway bill Congress appears likely to pass in next few months.

Regulators issued a set of voluntary guidelines for in-dashboard navigation systems last year. They specify that a single interaction should take no more than 2 seconds. Automakers have largely complied with the guidelines.


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30 comments
Brett Stubbs
Brett Stubbs

The government has built this one amazing product, the automatic face palming machine. It works every single time. 

Niels Heeser Nielsen
Niels Heeser Nielsen

It will make little sense to regulate navigation apps only, as MANY other apps will find their way into cars and commercial vehicels. Seems irrelevant to me. It would make more sense to rate popular apps from a safety point of view, which would allow consumers to make an informend choice.

Jay Inchaustegui
Jay Inchaustegui

How about they worry about the actual roads and bridges instead?

Tranh Nguyen
Tranh Nguyen

We don't need need such regulations - corporations will find loopholes to take advantage of any regulation.

Steve Ali Lee
Steve Ali Lee

Wow...! The tentacles of government..."it's not broke so let's just go ahead and break it...!"

Curtis Sumpter
Curtis Sumpter

It's working well! Great! Time to regulate! ----> Sadness for all

Joseph Carter
Joseph Carter

Government doing what it does best: Find something simple and complicate it.

Kevon R Binder
Kevon R Binder

They need to learn how to regulate budget, spending, and politicians. Then, maybe they can try other things!

Clinton Keith
Clinton Keith

Agreed. Few read the actual article. It'll likely lead to better industry self-regulation. This is what governments do.

Clinton Keith
Clinton Keith

It's spelled Columbus and his first voyage was financed by the Spanish crown.

Andrew Busa
Andrew Busa

idk what all the fuss is about, and what regulation has to do with innovation in this case. Being a victim of a car accident from negligent navigation from these applications; and countless of other stories ive heard from people being in accidents, there needs to be some type of responsibility from the people who create them. they are just able to wipe their hands clean

Mario Chaves
Mario Chaves

How about they worry about the actual roads and bridges instead?

Harushi Tetsuka
Harushi Tetsuka

Do the Feds really think they can keep a lid on the maintenance? When will they stop meddling in areas that tare out of their realm?

Wendy Sue Buckleman
Wendy Sue Buckleman

Do they want to or is it like the storage of data with the NSA, when it was very expensive to back up your data, and the taxpayers bought and maintained their storage. Have you attempted to use those map sites? They are full of long ago made dead ends, gated roads and washed out bridges. This makes USA responsible for the bad info they are making money selling lots of specific ads on? Government rarely asks for more responsibility. Someone with influence pays to make politicians helping them out an difficult spot an issue.

Jamie Toelle
Jamie Toelle

Are kiddin me, how do these jokers get elected, this madness needs to stop

Patrick Peters
Patrick Peters

Get out of the weeds D.C. and focus on the meaningful big picture. Balance a budget, something productive, work WITH each other.

Drew Gibson
Drew Gibson

That's not the USA in the photo. *kisses teeth*

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke

oh good grief, they just can't stop themselves from trying to build little empires of gate keeping can they?

Ryan M Bertoldi
Ryan M Bertoldi

uh, why? ...what can they possibly regulate? ..good thing that England didn't decide to regulate Colombus.

Stephen Meier
Stephen Meier

I suspect that Big Corporations have figured out that this is a very lucrative commercial area and they would like to make it difficult for small companies to bring out new competing products.

It isn't just a big government problem... it is that the big government is run by the big corporations. Best way to reduce the power of big corporations is to reduce the power of government and make the businesses have to fight the smaller innovative companies in the market place.

Edmund Snyder
Edmund Snyder

Andrew Busa, blame the idiot who hit you, not the phone they were using or the navigation aid they were using.  Those products did nothing to you.  I suppose if they'd been adjusting the knob on their radio then it's the fault of Pioneer?  If they had been drinking a Mountain Dew then it's the fault of Pepsico?  If they had been applying their makeup, it's the fault of Maybelline?  It's the one fucking driver!  That's it!  You are a useful idiot to the politicians who want more power and control over our daily lives... congratulations.