Cell phone users, beware! Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s crusade against distracted driving, which includes consideration of an outright ban on cell phone use in vehicles, is back in the news.
Recently, the Department of Transportation and Consumer Reports launched a “partnership,” that — with the help of educators — aims to inform teens about the dangers of texting and talking on cell phones while driving. The campaign will include Public Service Announcements to be aired nationwide, explaining the consequences of such activity. Considering the dismal record enjoyed by our public education system in actually educating students about anything, one wonders whether the program will achieve any level of success.
Meanwhile, Consumer Reports released a poll revealing – not surprisingly – that a majority of young drivers talk on cell phones while driving; 63 percent of those under the age of 30. Thirty percent acknowledge texting while driving. The numbers for older drivers are much lower, with 41 percent admitting to talking on the phone during their commute, while only nine percent acknowledge texting.
With the hyperbole that has become the hallmark of his tenure at the Transportation Department, LaHood recently told the Associated Press, “distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads.”
All of us, especially perhaps parents, should take an active role in urging drivers – and especially teen drivers – to be mindful of distractions caused not only by use of cell phones or texting devices while driving, but all manner of activities people pursue behind the wheel. However, forcing the American people to conform to behavior determined by a government bureaucrat to be in our best interest, is not the solution; in fact, it is not the job of the federal government in the first place. But, tell that to LaHood.
During his time in the Obama Administration, LaHood – a former Republican Congressman from Illinois – has employed his position as a bully pulpit to target cell phone users; even though studies from the Highway Loss Data Institute show that cell phone and texting bans do not necessarily decrease car accidents.
LaHood, however, continues to press his agenda, as the de facto Nanny State Czar for the Obama Administration. You can be sure we haven’t seen the last of this plan to tell American drivers they can no longer use the cell phone or other electronic communication device they paid for and own, while driving in their own cars, on roads paid for with their tax collars.
by Bob Barr — The Barr Code