• Feb 5, 2010
Concerned that "gadgets and bells and whistles" are distracting drivers, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is reportedly pushing to keep the technologies out of driver's hands – without going so far as to say he'll try to restrict them. LaHood, who has already campaigned for a ban on hand-held texting and cell phone use while operating a moving vehicle, says he is "going to talk to the car manufacturers and see where this leads."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009 nearly 6,000 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver - and more than 800,000 vehicles are driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone each day. While the Department of Transportation intends to issue regulations in 2010 to discourage driving while distracted by technology, LaHood has gone several steps further by saying he is on a "rampage" against the behavior.

This is likely a good time to remind everyone that a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that bans on hand-held cell phones in California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington D.C., had no impact on vehicle accidents - LaHood attributes those results simply to complaisant enforcement by police agencies.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      LaHood: "I am from the government, and I am here to help you."

      Enough for me to stop listening. As if this bureaucrat has anything worthwhile to say...

      How about you let the customers and the market determine what they want, and allow the same people to have representation, (actual input and accountability, not just tyrants who call themselves representatives) to form the law properly, and then enforce and abide by it.

      This nanny state crap has to stop. The nanny state requires the police state to keep people in-line.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm with BoxerFanatic on this one. Reckless driving is already against the law, we do not need to saturate our law books with laws that add nothing new.

        One thing that is even more important is licensing. Driving is not a right, and licensing standards need to be raised significantly. It should be challenging to get a license, they shouldn't be just giving them away.

        Stricter licensing would solve a myriad problems. For example, this whole Toyota unintended acceleration debacle would be a non-issue (safety-wise) if only people that knew how to drive were allowed to.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, it's not survival of the fittest. That's the problem with the whole "don't turn this to a nanny state" argument. It's often innocent people who are killed/maimed by the driver who think they should be able to do whatever they want behind the wheel. The "don't tread on me" reasoning behind much free market/libertarian thinking is obsolete when it comes to safety. What we do affects others, most often unintentionally.
        • 4 Years Ago
        but you'll quote the words of a politician like gospel.

        i've got a product just for you:
        http://www.amazon.com/Mobile-Office-WM-01-Laptop-Steering/dp/B000IZGIA8
        • 4 Years Ago
        Indeed, and insurance rates need to go up higher and more people need to die. Your market working results in people dying. Granted it's survival of the fittest, but still. We all suffer the consequences of people's stupidity and therefore we have a vested interest in preventing such stupid behavior. Anyway, I guess it will take your loved one being killed in an crash because some schmuck was dialing his phone or programming his GPS for you to get that through your thick "free market" skull.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thank you! A basic cd/radio is the limit. No navigation! All these frickin buttons on the dash, electronic "look-at-the-regen-powerflow" screens, touchscreens, screens in screens, etc. Too much! What happened to the joy of just driving? I'm sick of the Joneses. Never did like 'em.
      • 4 Years Ago
      HE MUST ALSO BE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS
      UNDER THE HOOD TURBOS LIKE "ECOBOOST"
      WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PEDAL AND TROTTLE
      STUCK WITH MORE BOOST

      WILL BRAKE OVERIDE WORK?

      I SUGGEST PUT RETRACTABLE WINGS ON THESE CARS
      WHEN PEDAL STICK PUSH BOTTON WINGS DEPLOY

      YOU TAKE OFF LIKE A F-16 IN FORD FOCUS RS
      AND DONT END UP REAR ENDING THE COROLLA OR CAMRY INFRONT OF YOU

      • 4 Years Ago
      I could never be a politician. It's too hard to point with my thumbs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like to see cars loose all the bells and whistles to keep the cost and weight down. Am I the only one left who is satisfied with only AC and a nice stereo? Okay, GPS is nice, but I still rather use a portable unit, and even then, only when I travel.

      The drivers cars are gone and they've been replaced with cars that cost 5-10K more with stuff I don't need. Don't even get me started with the curb weight of new cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I won't wish LaHood good luck in tackling excellent things like the sync system, but I'm sure he'll need it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's not so black-and-white as technology or no technology. It is about how it is designed and integrated into the vehicle. Clearly typing information is not a safe method of creating a message while you're driving.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see no problem with in car technology. In fact the technology that is cited the most - cell phone use - isn't produced by the auto manufacturers. If anything, including tech. like Bluetooth in even the cheapest of cars somewhat helps the situation. I think it shows the auto manufacturers are trying to keep this stuff out of the hands of the driver.... Same goes with steering wheel mounted controls or navigation that you can't change by hand (only by voice) while the car's in motion.

      Then again, when you get animated, full color LED dashboards, yeah I can see that as distracting and can obviously be attributed to the manufacturers.

      I'm not saying anyone's angelic here, but if we go down this road, make sure you're chasing the right guy that's all...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with the premise that distracted driving is bad, but I think that cracking down on new technology isn't the correct way to manage the situation. I think that some technology can make drivers safer. I think that all cars with say, over $8,000 worth of electronics (just some number I pulled from the air) should have a HUD system.

      A HUD system is exactly perfect, if it has speed and a tach you'd never need to take your eyes off the road in a normal drive.

      • 4 Years Ago
      BoxerFanatic - at first your comments angered me until I saw your later post ranting against lazy police that don't do their jobs. If the police aren't going to T-I-C-K-E-T bad drivers (warnings DO NOT WORK), enact an ebay-feedback-type-system where I can call in and report bad drivers by plate #. If I have negative feedback then my feedback against others is useless. When feedback is bad either fine them, insurance increase, or revoke license. Reward good drivers, punish the bad ones. Currently, it's the opposite.
      • 4 Years Ago
      he should ban steering by wire, braking by wire, throttle by wire ie Electronics

      keep these things manual
        • 4 Years Ago
        There is nothing wrong with any of these technologies as long as there is no scrimping on the components. These technologies have been around now for over 15 years so it isn't a matter of being underdeveloped. My 1998 C230 Mercedes has throttle by wire. Never a problem.

        Mr. LaHood is a dinosaur. I'll bet his car has roll up windows. How do we get these people? Oh yeh. Political appointments. Remember Katrina.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "in 2009 nearly 6,000 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver"

      Ok, so how many in 2008, 2006, 2003, etc?
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