When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood thinks a ban on drivers using electronic devices is a flawed, you know it's a bad idea. But that's exactly what the Good Secretary told David Shepardson of the Detroit News during a recent interview.

Citing the recent recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to impose a nationwide ban on mobile phone use while driving, LaHood makes it clear that "the problem is not hands-free."

Although LaHood has made it a priority to shine a spotlight on distracted driving in the U.S., even he sees the flawed logic in the NTSB's recommendation. Texting, emailing and updating social networks is one thing, but an outright ban on mobile phone use in the car is obviously a step too far.

Still, LaHood extends an olive branch to NTSB chairwoman Debbie Hersman, saying, "Anybody that wants to join the chorus against distracted driving, welcome aboard," but continuing that "If other people want to work on hands-free, so be it."



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  • 49 Comments
      4540flossy
      • 3 Years Ago
      When you are driving, you are in charge of a few tons of potentially lethal metal. Your attention should be on your driving and the safety of yourself, your passengers and others on the road. Period. If you want to access the Internet, check your messages, dial a number, input data on a sat nav then PULL OVER! There are currently large fines and points on your licence in Europe if you get caught using a hand-held device whilst driving and rightly so.
        ksrcm
        • 3 Years Ago
        @4540flossy
        I think we are a little bit late to the party. I left Europe 10 years ago, but return every year for either vacation or work. See, in Europe people don't drive while: - eating - drinking anything - having pets on their laps - reading - shaving - educating unruly kids All of those were there and NOT frowned upon in U.S. long time before cell phones hit the market. That's why there's such resistance here to any legislation regulating "driving" behavior. Unfortunately, a very large percentage of Americans still think that if we could get rid of drunk drivers and speeders, our death toll on the roads would go to zero or so close to it as to be insignificant. That, of course, is as far away from the reality as it could be and the main reason why driving here is so dangerous.
          creamwobbly
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ksrcm
          You forgot - writing - having sex - conversing with God
          clquake
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ksrcm
          I would like to point out that conversing with the deity of your choice usually occurs AFTER an accident.
        Mark Neven
        • 3 Years Ago
        @4540flossy
        So might as well ban radios, passengers, a cup of coffee, billboards, beautiful scenic roads, etc..... All distractions. Just because"Europe did it does not make it correct. Case and point, men waring Capri pants.
          creamwobbly
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mark Neven
          I applaud your ability to imitate a toddler... radios don't fully absorb the attention, both visual and auditory. Neither do passengers -- they being present in the vehicle too, they can sense when the driver needs to increase focus on driving. Coffee just takes one hand off the wheel for a few seconds. Billboards -- you may have a point. Natural beauty? Then your fellow drivers are also aware of the distraction. Your argument doesn't make the slightest bit of sense; especially that last little bit. What does "Case and point" mean? Did you mean "Case in point", perhaps? And "waring" -- "wearing"? Hey, we live in a country where *straight* men wear tight white T shirts... just sayin'
          avconsumer2
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mark Neven
          ...and yet... the only ones I can pick, without fail (well, 90%+ success rate), 4-5 cars away, are the ones on cellphones.
        tylermars.design
        • 3 Years Ago
        @4540flossy
        i can agree to that.
      rbnhd1144
      • 3 Years Ago
      Its pretty simple, more distractions lead to more accident's, Many people are for cellphone use until their kids or spouse are killed by a multi talented driver, of course its too late then, we need more concentration and respect for others on the roads. I was rear ended by someone on a phone, believe me I know how it feels, its life changing, wait till it happens to you, thats all Im saying..
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Tom
      • 3 Years Ago
      Texting behind the wheel is getting out of hand, no question about it, but I abhor the "Nanny State" and am getting sick and tired of increasing government restrictions, regulations and just-plain-stupid "safety" requirements for vehicles sold in the U.S. It's getting completely out of hand. What's next, restricting the angle at which we can recline the driver's seat in fear of inducing sleep behind the wheel?
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      What constitutes "mobile phone use" while driving? I agree that people should not text, email, update social networks, or in many cases talk with a handheld while driving, but what about simply having it in the cup holder, and simply using it to check the time? Would that be in violation if such a ban were put in place? I'm curious because all I have heard was a "ban on mobile electronics use", which, to me, can mean many things beyond the ones that pose obvious distractions.
      Lemon
      • 3 Years Ago
      Cell phone are just one form of distraction. If they consider banning cell phone use entirely, maybe they should also consider banning: - Car stereos - Eating / drinking - Little kids - Passengers who talk - HVAC - Comfortable seats - All buttons - Make up - Windows that go down - Anything shiny Or, you know, we could just make sure drivers actually learn how to drive before we hand them a license....
      Jason
      • 3 Years Ago
      The fact is, no one really concentrates behind the wheel here in the U.S. I'd fall asleep or space out behind the wheel, too, if I were driving a Prius. Another fact is, a pro racing driver can give full commentary around a track, while also simultaneously (surprise!), DRIVING. The difference is, a pro race driver is competent and was taught the importance of keeping concentration behind the wheel, even with the team radio blaring in his/her ear. If you've ever watched a novice player use a steering wheel and pedals in something like GT5, you'll notice something interesting. When he/she crashes into a wall, both pedals are depressed (yes, gas and brake). Something doesn't register in their brain fast enough to say, hey! let off the gas! Things are happening too fast on screen, apparently. I don't have that issue, but I've seen it countless times in both sexes. I second the notion that we need driver training before licensing. Vehicles are weapons in the wrong hands.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      gork
      • 3 Years Ago
      If mobile phones are to be completely banned, then why not the radio and all multimedia headsets altogether? Do they not also distract the brain from driving?
      Will
      • 3 Years Ago
      So I can't talk on the phone but I can eat a cheeseburger ?
        TwoBits
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Will
        My thoughts exactly. If a police officer can pull you over for what he thinks is erratic or reckless driving, then he should be able to pull you over what appears to be distracted driving. It shouldn't matter what you are doing, as long as it's not paying attention. The biggest one for me is smoking. HOW is this not addressed first? You shouldn't use one of your hands to talk on the phone, eat or drink, but it's perfectly fine as long as it's a glowing hot cancer stick?? Then when you're done it's fine to throw this glowing hot cancer stick out your window because littering doesn't count if it's on fire, apparently.
          David
          • 3 Years Ago
          @TwoBits
          Umm, littering by throwing a ciggarette out the window is a HUGE fine. A friend got busted for that on the highway and ended up with a 800 dollar fine with 8 hour community service. That is a MUCH greater fine than any distracted driving fine. People just do it when they don't see any cops around just like people talking on their cell phones while driving.
        LUSTSTANG S-197
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Will
        That just goes to show that people do many things behind the wheel that can be every bit as distracting, such as eating, looking at a cool car passing by, reading a bumper sticker, checking out an accident, admiring an attractive woman jogging down the sidewalk, messing with their radio, putting on their makeup, talking to a passenger, fumbling around looking for something that fell between the seats/on the floor, or even just spacing out for whatever reason. We can go on all day about the things that can distract people while they are driving.
        xmailboxcancerx
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Will
        Only a hands-free double-double animal-style.
      tool0117
      • 3 Years Ago
      Even LaHood thinks the NTSB mobile electronics ban is flawed [w/poll] When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Wtf? you meant Ray right?
      TelegramSam
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think people that are on their phones, on the road, are in general a menace. This legislation, I believe, will make the road more safe. However, I think this is going overboard. Reckless Driving is already illegal. Guess what, if you are driving recklessly, it does not matter whether you have a phone in your hand or not, but if you do it certainly does not look any better. It is extremely inefficient to handle very many special cases of law enforcement, when a single law, already on books, if enforced properly would go a long way to help the problem.
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