Google Maps may soon be regulated by the Transportation Department. If a proposed transportation bill from President Obama’s administration is passed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would regulate all types of navigation aids, including apps on your smartphone and smart dashboard systems.

The NHTSA could demand changes if the apps appear to threaten in-car safety says a report from the New York Times. I’m cool with that kind of regulation, but you know there would be instances where the regulators overstep. There always are.

Tech firms argue these laws would be nearly impossible to enforce in a rapidly growing and changing market with thousands of apps.

Transportation Department officials clarified that they would not review apps prior to them hitting the market, but would demand changes should any app be deemed dangerous. Similar to how the Department regulates automobiles.

Nothing is set in stone yet. The bill is likely to see several other proposals make their way into and out of the bill before Congress passes it later this year.

While regulators mull potential guidelines for apps, they already issued a set of voluntary guidelines for dashboard navigation systems last year. One of the main guidelines stressed that a single interaction should take no longer than 2 seconds. Car manufacturers have complied with these guidelines for the most part.

The biggest issue for regulators will be the sheer number of apps. There’s a set number of car manufacturers. But, there are thousands of app developers making new apps every day.


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