Transportation Secretary LaHood looks to stem in-car distractions?

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (pictured) has gotten some good TV time this week.  First he warned American drivers of Toyota’s recalled vehicles to park them immediately.  Shortly thereafter, he retracted part of that statement in a “clarification” in which he told drivers to get their recalled cars to Toyota dealerships as soon as possible.  In a report which came out Friday on the Detroit News, LaHood is apparently looking to limit in-car distractions for drivers.

He’s already gone after texting and general cell phone usage by drivers, and now is looking to limit the bells and whistles we take for granted these days.  LaHood is quoted as saying he’s, “going to talk to the car manufacturers and see where this leads.”

While the NHTSA says that in 2009, 6,000 people were killed by inattentive or distracted drivers and that more than 800,000 drivers are using hand-held phones while driving each day, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on hand-held phone bans in California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington D.C. had no discernible effect on the number of traffic accidents.  LaHood explained this away by blaming a lack of police enforcement of those bans.

I’d like to see how far this goes, as more and more cars come equipped with bluetooth-compatible radios and hands-free dialing capability, and the number of crashes hasn’t significantly risen, even though the number of drivers in America has.

by John Suit

Source: Detroit News

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