The more things change, the more they stay the same. According to a report at, Department of Transportation chief Ray LaHood isn't the first person to take on distracted driving.

In 1930, George A. Packer, then the Massachusetts registrar of motor vehicles, wanted the state to ban "newfangled" radios that were beginning to come with the cars. Radios, Packer argued, were dangerous because of the distractions they caused. Motorists would have to take their hands off the wheel to adjust the volume or search for a new station. Soft music at night might lull drivers to sleep. Louder music might even distract drivers in other vehicles.

Massachusetts even held a hearing on the dangers of the radio in motor cars, but, ultimately, Packer's efforts failed.

LaHood has fared better with his campaign against texting and general distracted driving, points out. So far, 39 states have banned texting while driving and 10 states have banned operating a handheld phone behind the wheel. More bans are likely. And that may not be a good thing.

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