• Jun 11, 2010
If you were waiting for the federal government to lay down the law on distracted driving, we've got bad news for you. New bipartisan legislation from Congress has effectively put the issue back into the hands of individual states. That means that instead of a single, nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving like most advocates were hoping for, we'll likely be stuck with the same status quo for a few more years. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has voted to approve a program that would provide grant incentives for states to enact their own legislation to curb distracted driving.

Thing is, the program is funded through existing programs, making it a half-hearted effort to address a real problem. TDB sites statistics that claim 16 percent of all traffic fatalities involve distracted driving, and that in 2008, 6,000 people died as a result of not paying attention to the road. So why didn't Congress take a stand and enact legislation that would limit highway funding unless states brought in laws to stop drivers from using their cell phones behind the wheel?

The short answer appears to be that no one in D.C. is willing to do anything that might upset a large selection of voters this close to November. So do us a favor and know your limits behind the wheel. Honestly, that call or text can wait.

[Source: TheDetroitBureau.com | Image: Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well that photo is triggering for me... I once had a car totaled while stopped in traffic because a woman was applying makeup while driving her pickup at 45mph, didn't even touch the brakes before impact.

      It would have been ironic if her face was messed up but thankfully she was ok
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think when you are driving, you need to be concentrating on the road and nothing else.

      That being said, it is very refreshing to see the feds actually allowing the states to decide something on their own for a change.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Definitely. More power to the states! And I could be wrong here, but don't all the states ALREADY HAVE laws they don't enforce, like failure to signal, driving without passing in the left lane, distracted driving?

        Instead the officers are too STUPID to make any of these judgements, so they rely on pulling the trigger of a laser/radar gun to tell them how to make money, instead of enforcing laws that would keep people safer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Women and the senile may need 100% focus without distractions to arrive safely but the rest of us don't.

        But that's America. One person craps so we should all wear diapers.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I know, it's cool and alt to hate on mythbusters.

        But, you cannot tell me that having a person who is in the same environment as you takes exactly the same amount of concentration as conversing with someone through electronic means who is not in the same environment as you are.

        It's disingenuous to believe that it's the same thing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan,

        You think you can drive fine while distracted, but you can't. It's that arrogance that gets people killed...

        http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-cell-phone-vs-drunk-driving-minimyth.html
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm all for states rights but this is a national problem (except for like Arkansas, where things like cell phones have not been introduced into the market yet). i have no problem with people taking a call while driving. Texting on the other hand is very dangerous, so is applying your makeup, clipping your nails, esp your toe nails, etc etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, it's almost as though we have a constitution limiting federal power or something. Nice to see that they observe it for once, even out of election year fear.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Matt: First off, Mythbusters is not scientific evidence. They get it right about 50% of the time. Secondly, yes, there are people who can carry on a conversation without losing their concentration.

        Finally, 16% of accidents involve "Distracted Driving"-- what percentage of that is people eating, playing with the radio, shouting at the kids in the back seat, talking to the passenger without looking at the road, playing with the GPS (or other "infotainment" system)...

        So yes, there are people who cannot give sufficient attention to the task at hand (driving the car safely), whether they have cellphones, radios, makeup, pizza, kids, passengers-- they'll find some way to screw it up, because the bottom line is... THEY'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION.

        Personally, I use a bluetooth handsfree system at all times in the car, but I'm still opposed to a law that's only designed to make legislators feel like they're doing something useful, and may, or may not, save actual lives.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The image for this story should be made into the official California state flag, since it's such a common sight.
      Jason Knighte
      • 10 Months Ago
      I think that it is a good idea to send it to the states to make decisions for themselves. I think that driving distracted is a bad idea, but honestly, there will always be detracted drivers, no matter how many laws there are to prevent it. I just hope that the numbers can be reduced a bit. Jason. http://www.coloradoapplianceservice.com/denver-co-appliance-services.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just wanted to share yet another story about the perils of driving while distracted. This incident happened right around the corner from where I live and it's a route I take everyday to go to work. Something must be done to bring awareness and find solutions to this growing problem.

      State patrol: Driver was distracted when she hit and killed pedestrian in Gunbarrel

      Read more: State patrol: Driver was distracted when she hit and killed pedestrian in Gunbarrel - Boulder Daily Camera http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_15277379#ixzz0qZacle3u
      DailyCamera.com
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd rather see them crack down on dummies that loiter in the far left lane and people who have no situational awareness.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here's what will happen and what some folks will make out of it:

      There'll be "communist" states outlawing texting and other idiots and states "protecting American way of life" leaving people who express their freedom via texting&driving to endanger and/or kill other road users.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That picture says it all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is a states-rights issue, so they were correct in that. The problem is that state politicians are just as scared to enact legislation against this, no matter the number killed or maimed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The telephone companies contribute millions to the re-election of politicians they have in their pockets. Even the Highway Patrol in California receives millions from the cell phone companies for their retiremen-widow funds. It is a racket.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The point is not if distracted driving is bad... the point is that this decision (and legislation) will go back to the states... WHERE IT BELONGS. This also means you might have a chance to vote and actually have a louder voice in the conversation since the audience is smaller. Frankly, I'm glad the feds got this one right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i hate when people drive distracted, but i must say that i have done it before. the sad thing about driving while distracted is that it is not malicious or premeditated it just happens sometimes, sadly. i never talk on the phone though!!!!!!!

      leftlanedrivers.org PLEASE JOIN
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