(Updated 3:04 p.m.)
If it’s left up to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, no driver on U.S. roads would be allowed to talk or text on cell phones while behind the wheel.
LaHood on Thursday called on Congress to ban talking or texting while driving any vehicle on any road in the nation, according to a Reuters report.
LaHood told a group of doctors, advocates and government officials in San Antonio that the problem of accidents connected to cell phone use is a “national epidemic.” The National Transportation Safety Administration reported 3,000 traffic deaths attributed to distracted driving last year, many blamed on cell phone use.
He said he was not too concerned about people who eat or apply makeup while driving because “not everyone does that,” Reuters reported.
“But everyone has a cell phone and too many of us think it is OK to talk on our phones while we are driving,” the secretary was quoted as saying.
LaHood has been pushing for the ban for several years. His office said he remains supportive of state efforts to address the issue. So far, 37 states plus the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving and 10 states plus D.C. have total bans on handheld phones while driving.
Georgia’s law banning texting while driving took effect July 1, 2010. According to the state Department of Driver Services, there had been more than 500 convictions for violations of the law as of mid-December.
Georgia Code 40-6-241.1 prohibits people under the age of 18 from “wireless communications” (cell phone conversations, texting, sending or reading emails, etc.) while operating a motor vehicle. Georgia Code 40-6-241.2 prohibits people 18 years old or older from “writing, sending or reading text based communication” while operating a motor vehicle.
Is it time for a federal ban on talking and texting while driving?