In today’s installment of the “good luck with that” files, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has come out in favor of an all-out ban of the use of cellphones while driving. This would prohibit anyone from using their device for any reason – calls, texting, Facebooking – while driving on a road in the United States.
This call came while LaHood was speaking at the Texas Distracted Driving Summit, via Reuters.
“Everyone has a cell phone and too many of us think it is OK to talk on our phones while we are driving,” he said. He went on to call distracted driving an “epidemic” and said that it’s necessary that police have “the opportunity to write tickets when people are foolishly thinking they can drive safely or use a cell phone and text and drive.”
“In light of two new studies, one by our own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and one by Bridgestone, distracted driving is still a dangerous epidemic, particularly among our youngest drivers,” LaHood said in a recent blog post. “Raising awareness is a critical part of helping to curb this dangerous behavior. Passing good laws and backing them up with strong enforcement is also crucial.”
As of right now, 10 states have bans in place on the use of handheld cellphones. 37 states currently ban texting by any driver. A nationwide ban would be a whole other animal, however.
In December of 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board proposed a similar nationwide ban on cellphone use while driving. Their suggestion extended to hands-free bluetooth devices that weren’t factory installed. That suggestion didn’t receive a lot of public support.
It’s important to note that the NTSB is an independent organization, having severed ties with the Department of Transportation back in 1975. So Ray LaHood’s suggestion isn’t just a rehash of this previous NTSB statement.
Here’s the brief opinion portion of the article. I’m in no way insensitive to the victims of accidents involving distracted driving. I think that texting, Facebooking, and any other activity like that shouldn’t be a part of your daily commute. I’m just not sure about a nationwide ban on all cellphone use while driving. Limited government advocates will shout overreach, and they might have good reason. Not only that, but enforcement would be a nightmare. By and large, I’m doubtful anyone could stop people from making calls behind the wheel.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.