"U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls, as his department begins research that may lead him to push for a ban.Now I am all for reasonable restrictions on things like texting while driving, and even hand-held phones. But when you have a high-level federal official saying things like "I don't want people doing x", then you can be reasonably assured that things have gone too far, and the Nanny State is about to be a pain in your ass
LaHood, whose campaign against texting and making calls while driving has led to restrictions in 30 states, says his concerns extend to vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford Motor Co.’s Sync and General Motors Co.’s OnStar.
“I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they’re driving,” LaHood said in an interview this week. “We need a lot better research on other distractions,” including Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calls and the in-car systems, he said."
"LaHood, 64, said even hands-free phone conversations are a “cognitive distraction.” Calling for a ban on hands-free communications is a possible outcome of research under way at the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into all driver distractions, Olivia Alair, a department spokeswoman, said."Gee thanks, Ray. While we are at it, lets ban some other “cognitive distractions." First, lets get rid of the radio. We can't have all that rock'n'roll, or right wing talk radio hate distracting people. Or perhaps you could mandate that radio can only be set to the soothing dulcet tones of NPR. Second, no more kids in the car. Boy are they a distraction! And while we are on that track, let s ban *ALL* passengers. One-person SMART Cars with one-station radios for everyone! Just think of all the gas & lives we will save.....but remember to keep those hands at 10 & 2!
The best part of all this, is that it seems Mr. LaHood believes he has unilateral authority to act on his grand designs.
"LaHood plans to meet with the heads of all makers of cars sold in the U.S. to discuss their cooperation in limiting distracted driving, he said in the Oct. 5 interview. He said he’s not yet recommending restrictions on hands-free phone calls and didn’t say when he might make a decision.....The Transportation Department’s powers to push further limits on distracted driving range from exhortations to setting standards backed by the federal government’s financial clout."I will certainly be waiting on pins and needle for LaHood to make his edict. In the meantime I will be buying futures in Buggy Whips, since it seems we have reached the apex of government-allowable transportation technology, and are sliding backwards all in the name of safety...