Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is at it again:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today the agency isn’t looking at new regulations to address distracted driving, but rather is calling on automakers to step up voluntary efforts to combat risks with new technologies and education.
(The word “voluntary” is an oxymoron when it refers to anything the federal government wants you to do, of course.)
LaHood, who’s made distracted driving a top automotive safety priority of the Obama administration, said he’s met with the CEOs of numerous automakers and feels confident “they’re committed to safety.” …
“We’re not considering a rule,” LaHood said. “We’re looking at things that have worked. We think good laws work. We think good enforcement works.”
He also urged Congress to enact stricter laws on distracted driving and possibly a nationwide ban on cell phone use, although when pressed he didn’t offer specifics, saying only it was his personal preference.
“I don’t have a bill to hand to Congress,” he added.
LaHood has confederates, unfortunately:
In December, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman, whose board operates independently, called for a ban on all phone use while driving, even with hands-free devices.
“We have got to dispel the myth of multitasking,” Hersman said later in February. “We are still learning what the human brain can handle. What is the price of our desire to be mobile and connected at the same time?”
In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed the agency’s first-ever set of voluntary guidelines on distracted driving.
The guidelines cover vehicle equipment only — not handheld phones — and recommend that automakers disable certain apps, such as Facebook, Twitter and Internet browsers, unless a car is pulled over.
Voice operation of those features isn’t addressed but will be later. For now, NHTSA is still studying hands-free technology and is expected to release an analysis later this year.
“The data is not very strong on hands-free,” said Ron Medford, the deputy NHTSA director. He said the agency is now focusing on what it knows is a danger and that’s texting or talking on handheld devices while driving.
If Medford or LaHood were honest, they would admit they are motivated by control and not safety. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety inconveniently found no difference in crash rates in states that enacted bans on cellphone use.
Yesterday I posted the comments of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin) about the anti-business attitude of the Obama administration. This is a prime example. Business people need to get hold of their employees or customers or vendors when they need to get hold of them, not when they get to a destination with a phone. Immediately. Anyone who argues otherwise is ignorant about how business works.
LaHood is an excellent reason to vote for Mitt Romney in November … if we can get assurance from Romney that those who interfere with our freedom will be fired and not hired.