In the same week when a teen was sentenced to serve one year behind bars for texting that caused a vehicular homicide, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that his department had come up with a “blueprint for ending distracted driving.”
Under his stewardship, LaHood has ardently voiced his opinion against using cell phones while driving. Since being appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, many of the 39 states that have banned ear-to-phone calls while driving picked up their laws. He’s also opposed texting while driving.
But LaHood’s next goal is to eliminate distracted driving completely, which he says is possible.
“Distracted driving is an epidemic,” he said in a statement. “While we’ve made progress in the past three years by raising awareness about this risky behavior, the simple fact is people are continuing to be killed and injured—and we can put an end to it.”
Under his blueprint, LaHood wants to eliminate all electronic devices used for activities other than driving tasks. That means that despite having hands-free calling in many new cars, he’d like to outlaw it. The plan also calls for convincing the 11 states without cell phone laws to create and enforce them.
The Department of Transportation plans to begin a pilot program in Delaware and California to test a new distracted driving ticketing program. It plans to split a $2.4 million grant between the two for increasing enforcement. LaHood said that most enforcement would be handled state by state.
While Facebook and Twitter have more prominently showed up in cars, among other social media and technologies, automakers have catered to customer whims—the people who keep their lights on. Somewhere, at some point, the government will likely confront automakers on what technologies will be allowed in new cars and trucks.
Automotive.com’s take: Most people know their limits when it comes to being able to drive a car safely. The few that don’t are why laws exist to ban their stupidity. As always, it’s our hope automakers can find new ways to satisfy customer demands safely before the government overarchingly steps in with a new piece of legislation. But it’s also our hope that drivers will respect other motorists on the road and not do anything too terribly stupid behind the wheel.
Source: The Hill