April 30, 2012
The Daily Mail (UK) (4/28) continued coverage of Secretary LaHood’s visit Thursday to a distracted driving summit in San Antonio, where he called for a federal ban on cell phone use while driving “any type of vehicle on any road in the country.” LaHood said police should have “the opportunity to write tickets when people are foolishly thinking they can drive safely or use a cell phone and text and drive.” The NHTSA estimates that 3,000 fatal traffic accidents nationwide last year were the result of distracted driving. “Using a cell phone while driving delays reaction time the same amount as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, the legal limit,” according to NHTSA. Nevertheless, Gary Biller of the National Motorists Association said the federal ban wasn’t necessary and that it would be more productive to invest more in information campaigns.
The Petaluma (CA) Patch (4/29, Hart) noted LaHood compared distracted driving to the drunk driving, saying, “It used to be that if an officer pulled you over for drunk driving, he would pat you on the back, maybe call you a cab or take you home, but he wouldn’t arrest you. Now that has changed, and the same enforcement can work for people who talk on cell phones while driving.”