US Transportation Secretary wants distracted driving to be a federal offense

US Transportation Secretary wants distracted driving to be a federal offense
Distracted driving is one of the newer hot topics that every politician needs to jump on unless they want to be labeled as "uncaring" or "out of touch". The more popular cell phones become, especially smartphones, the bigger the problem gets; and now, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants to elevate the issue to federal law. 

That may seem big, but there are already laws on the books in 38 states that cover distracted driving, from laws mandating the use of hands-free devices to those flat out banning cell phone use while driving. So, making this a federal law would just be unifying those laws and adding in those last 12 states to the safety standard. LaHood's plan is to ban cell phone use while driving nationwide. 

LaHood said his department is still researching how hands-free devices or voice-activated systems factor in. Just last year, LaHood refused to support a proposal from the National Transportation Safety Board which sought to ban cell phones completely, even with hands-free devices. Apparently, it only took the approximately 3,000 fatal crashes in the past year (and the opportunity to propose the law himself) for LaHood to decide this was a topic worth putting forward. 

source: Reuters via The Verge



16. nyamo

Posts: 274; Member since: Mar 19, 2011

while this sounds good on paper, how do they implement it? also if phones are distracting drivers, why does almost every new car come with some sort of touch panel interface? seems hypocritical to me. good idea but wrong to point the finger at any one thing as the cause

14. jsjr76

Posts: 24; Member since: Sep 28, 2010

If they simply made a law that requires a hands free device, and insurance companies refused to pay for damage incurred to oneself if not using said device, then there would fewer accidents. Maybe not much, but fewer. People will still use them, but Ray needs remember his place on the food chain and stop appeasing let's hate freedom crowd. Now, texting while driving?? You get caught then you deserve a Chicago beat down of the first order. Hands free device use while driving is no less dangerous then talking. Maybe Mr LaThug should ban that too. Or like someone else said, just ban driving! Seriously though, we do have a problem with texting and driving as well as holding a phone. Pass a law requiring hands free and one helluva fine if you don't. My heart goes out to EVERYONE who has lost someone due to that carelessness.

12. Beholder88

Posts: 86; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I think this is perfect. Cell phone use is more of a distraction than most other things that can be done while driving, including paying attention to your kids. I can't tell you how many times I see someone on their phone while driving and almost hit someone else, hit me, or run off the road. To finally get it in to people's heads that you need to put the flippin phone down while you are at the wheel, I guess a federal law needs to be passed. Whether they find a way to actually enforce it or not is another story.

11. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1257; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Just what we need... More people in jail for crimes created by the government. Why not just make sex illegal too then nobody would ever get raped! They're geniuses.

10. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I agree with one thing on this and that is that phones should not be used by the driver IF the driver does not have a bluetooth headset. If they have bluetooth it shouldn't be a problem considering most androids have voice recognition systems for calling, texting, searching etc.

8. kmik05

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

If they want to ban distracted driving, they need to include driving anywhere with kids in the car.

6. DCgreen26

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 28, 2012

This is dumb. Distraction is a human trait. We get distract by any number of small things and thoughts. Laws on punishing natural human acts are messed up. Why are these leaders of ours so flaky.

15. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Hopefully someone who is distracted by their phone, will run your dumb azz over. & not be penalized. "Because distraction is a human trait" This arrogant, willfully ignorant, selfish attitude, Reminds me of what I hate most about the iculture.


Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 28, 2012

Alright considering i was almost run off a bridge on my motorcycle when a distracted driver was obviously not paying attention to the road while texting in her T-Bird. (most dont look for the motorcyle as it is.) i could understand in some way why some would want it to be a federal offense. We also had a lady who had killed a police officer behind the wheel while being texting and being distracted and she just got a slap on the wrist for it. (thats more BS Then i could imagine). I do agree radios, passengers,phones and eating all distract drivers. I personally use a bluetooth in case i must take a call, that doesn't mean i will take it, it means that better safe then sorry. but atleast both hands are on the wheel where they need to be instead of responding to some drama on facebook or a text, that could wait15 minutes till 'i'm either at home or at an office. I don't want to be responsible for ending some one's life if i was not paying attention. There are pros and Cons to this, first of Emergency Services is just as guilty as the rest of the populace, i know since i worked there as a medical transport and ambulance driver. They have to communicate with dispatch and many other organizations while driving. i've heard that oh well they could be the exception and then comes the fact that truckers use allot of the same types of tools so it just opens it right back up to where we started. every one does it. so to make it a federal offense doesnt really seem valid in the scheme of things.

4. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

This is bull. I get that alot of stupid people can't walk and chew gum at the same time, but if someone is too stupid and can't drive while talking on the phone, them let it be their CHOICE to kill themselves. I personally use a bluetooth while driving, but I'm just as capable to hold the phone up to my head and talk. The radio poses the same distraction as a phone does. Eating is worse. The only times I've texted and drove, I am super careful just because I care more about my car than myself. I usually use the voice activated texting feature. But I feel it's peoples' choice if they want to live a life that is detrimental to their health. That's what freedom is all about. I don't want a government outlawing everything that's not good for me. I want to be able to smoke, drink, do drugs, screw who I want, and call someone while driving DAMNIT!!!

13. DetroitTech

Posts: 66; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

I hear ya on the personal choice things. BUT... driving a car is like holding a gun... One wrong move and you can kill someone else. Because you made a mistake. Do whatever the hell you want in your household but once other people's lives are at stake you have to be more responsible. Even if you don't want to... You may think you "skills" are better than everyone else and you can handle it. There WILL be one time where you may be caught off guard and crash. Who's fault is it then? No ones because it was an "accident"?

3. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

My god.. whats next? mandatory black boxes in all cars with wishy-washy laws that dont protect our privacy? Oh wait.. the demoRats are already pushing for that.

2. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Federal offense, really? So does this ALL distractions or just those associated with cellphone usage? This is getting rediculous!

1. pongkie

Posts: 663; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

more government more taxes more laws. just ban driving so there will be 0 crashes

7. BlacRaZredge

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

and your one of the many that cant wait till they are done driving to text "omg" to their besties. and swerve all over the road trying to type it like "OmG!!! LOL!!! ROLFL!!!" really is it that important?

9. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

To Anyone to stupid of self absorbed, to see that this is a major problem. Needs to get run down by 1 of these f-tards. We shouldn't need these laws. But there is no such thing (in this country) as personal resporesponsibility any more. I have had so many near misses, cause someone was using the phone. & when these ******** mother******* kill people, they at best get a slap on the wrist. I don't care if they kill themselves was But what about their victims? After my mom was almost killed by one of these drivers, when he ran a red light while txting. I have pulled several of these idiots out of there car & gave them a lesson in responsibility. But now I am the one who would get arrested, if the cops get involved. Thats Bullsh*t !

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless