By on November 19, 2010

“I think it will be done… I think the technology is there and I think you’re going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones. We need to do a lot more if were going to save lives.”

To paraphrase Leslie Ann Phillips on her fabulous Martinis and Bikinis album, however, Ray says “save” when he means “control”.

The Daily Caller reports that Ray LaHood went on at some length to the fawning hosts on MSNBC “Morning Joe” about his crusade to forcibly jam cellphone signals in automobiles. Apparently, his plan is for the Federal Government to force automakers to install cellphone jammers in every new car sold, as soon as possible.

LaHood is launching the Faces Of Distracted Driving website, which exploits pictures of sexually attractive teenaged girls who are now dead in an effort to “bring the problem home”. In addition to slandering the memory of dead children by claiming the often-unproven fact that they were directly responsible for their own deaths and/or the deaths of their friends, the site features interviews with people who were in no way involved with the incidents in question. Naturally, MSNBC was all too happy to give him a platform to promote this hideously offensive site and the rest of his less-than-scientifically-rigorous ideas.

A chimpanzee pressing hieroglyphs on a laboratory chimp communication board could point out a half-dozen staggering difficulties with the implementation of this mobile jamming requirement, and I’d encourge all of you to think of as many as you can. The frightening aspect to all of this is that Ray-Ray hasn’t seemingly devoted five minutes of thought to any of those problems before shooting his mouth off on national television.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your government in action.

UPDATE: Ray LaHood fires back at his Fastlane blog, writing

A story in The Daily Caller this morning inaccurately characterized my response to a question I was asked on MSNBC earlier this week, specifically about whether I believed we should employ a specific technology that would block cell phone signals in cars to prevent drivers from talking or texting behind the wheel.

What I actually said was:

“There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that. A number of [cell technology innovators] came to our Distracted Driving Summit here in Washington and presented their technology, and that’s one way. But you have to have good laws, you have to have good enforcement, and you have to have people take personal responsibility. That’s the bottom line.”

Again, personal responsibility – that’s the bottom line. When you get behind the wheel of a 5,000 pound automobile, you have a personal responsibility to drive that vehicle safely. That means, put away cell phones and other devices that take your focus off of the road.

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62 Comments on “Ray LaHood Has Another Bright Idea...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    I want to know how LaHood adjusts his seat and steering wheel to accommodate all the knee jerking.
     
    The use of dead children is a bad move. It’s been proven ineffective by campaign after campaign (usually against drunk driving). Maybe we need to find something truly effective, like license suspensions. I’m usually in favor of increasing the penalties, not the enforcement–especially this type of enforcement.
     
    /Despite all my rage, I’m a rat in a Faraday cage

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      What is the advantage of high penalties for common moving violations? My ex-gf made a turn into a bank parking lot in a manner that an observing office thought was unsafe, even though there were no other cars close enough to be effected by her seeing the entrance a little late. She is an adult school teacher who drives an inexpensive sedan and actually thinks police officers aren’t bottom feeding scumbags. She was polite and apologetic. When the ticket arrived in the mail, the fine was $1,000. One thousand dollars. I see terrible driving every day. Enforcement is random at best. How does a high penalty for being near a cop when he was thinking about his quota make the roads any safer?  

      BTW. I sat on a special drug enforcement grand jury for a month. Commuters regularly pay a higher price for their need to get to and from work than crack dealers do when they’re caught.

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Ray,
    How about doing something about the 20+ years of fogged headlight lens you’ve let the manufacturer’s skate from?
    Thanks,
    CarPerson

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      For erosion and scratches on the outside, you can buy a polishing system that looks pretty good. I’ve even had some luck with elbow grease and a glass polishing compound on a plastic lens.

    • 0 avatar
      LXbuilder

      X2 on the headlamp cleaning kits, simple works well and its called maintenance …try it sometime.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      Here’s a clever idea: How about the manufacturers use a material for the headlight that remains clear in normal use? Exposure to sunlight is not unexpected. Exposure to dirt is not unexpected.

    • 0 avatar

      tced2,
       
      Having worked in a paint lab, you can do all the UV and salt cabinet exposure and other durability testing that you want so you can get some idea of how something will last in real life, but real life will still sometimes bite you on the ass.
      Driving a car for 100,000 miles in a year isn’t going to tell you how it’s going to be after 100,000 miles in 10 years.
      We don’t live in a perfect world and manufacturers do what they can.

  • avatar
    turbobeetle

    Just a couple of things here…
    First of all, I’d hope that these jammers (which are already illegal in the US) will know when someone is trying to dial 911 or any other emergency number and automatically stop jamming as well as be able to detect incoming emergency calls from friends and family… Just saying
     
    Second of all, do you have any idea how much money the cell phone companies would loose if people cannot talk on their phones while driving. I’m willing to bet more than half of all minutes used are while in the car and I don’t think these companies want to give that much profit up. Providing a safe alternative will be a much better solution here!
     
    What about the passengers in the car? Did you forget about those “other” people in world.. You know the one’s riding in the passenger seat or back seat? They might want to use the dame phone.
     
    Lastly, this would mean that I cannot listen to Pandora while driving… F**K Y*U! Ray!!!

  • avatar
    chuckR

    How about the FCC makes it legal for the parents of teenage girls to acquire and secretly install a low power in-auto cell jammer? No need for LaHood to get involved. Last I checked several years ago, these things were so cheap from overseas that if you couldn’t sneak one through Customs the company would send another gratis. Hmmm, says something about DHS, don’t it?

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    That’s a pretty sweet Jeep in the picture, but I think I am missing what it has to do with the story?

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Radiation here, radiation there. It’s like living in a microwave.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Consider this: a girl is running from someone trying to either rape or murder her, or both. She unlocks her car, jumps in, and locks the doors just in time, but the car won’t start. She tries to call the police and…the phone won’t work. The rapist/murderer breaks into the car, and…you can imagine the rest.

    Disabling phones in cars didn’t save that life.

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      Excellent point. Women drivers will not like the idea of having to stop and/or get out of the car on a dark night to use their phone.
       
      Fathers will be uneasy knowing that their teen daughter is a passenger and can’t call from inside the moving car to let him know she is in an uncomfortable situation.

      It also delays the whole ‘if you see something, say something’ govt TIPS campaign to get people to report suspicious activity right away. Most people will forgo making the call if they have to stop.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Engine not running = no jamming
      Program it so you can have battery power to lights, radio, etc and still be able to phone and/or, as someone suggested, 911 or equivalent always gets through
      Car doesn’t start and rapist breaks in = phone doesn’t matter, police are minutes away when seconds count. No knock on the cops, it’s just reality.
       

  • avatar
    Shane Rimmer

    I am sure, should this become the law of the land, that exemptions will be made for those highly trained people in law enforcement to acquire vehicles without these devices or to remove them with no penalty. I am, also, sure exemptions will be granted for limo drivers, taxis, government employees, families of government employees, elected officials, families of elected officials…

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I’ll admit that I didn’t notice “Scrambler” on the Jeep as much as it reminded me that in the current safety environment, there is no possible way that a vehicle like that would ever be offered for sale again.  No doors (no side impact protection or side airbags), high center of gravity, no ABS, no traction control, and a major pedestrian safety hazard on that front bumper/winch option.  My gosh, anybody who chooses to drive a car like that must have a death-wish. 
    Then again, I guess that’s what people used to tell me when I commuted in a Miata, so one’s perspective has a lot to do with these things.  Compared to my old Triumph Spitfire, that Miata was a Cadillac.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Funny how Democratic Administration History repeats itself.
     My mother was a school-nurse.  One day, back in the early 70’s a kid cut off his finger (mis)using the band saw in Shop class. She needed to take the kid to the hospital – right now. Rather than wait for an ambulance to be dispatched, she decided to take him in her new Plymouth. 

    However the car refused to start, no matter what she did.  Finally they had to use another teacher’s car.  After she returned from the hospital – no reattaching fingers in those days, she called my father to see about the car.

    To everyone’s surprise, the car started up fine (well, fine for one with early 70’s pollution controls).

    They finally figured out that the problem was the Congressionally-mandated seatbelt ignition interlock.  She had tried to start the car before putting on her seatbelts.

    Sound familiar now? 

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      Um, how far back in the 70s? Repubs had the adminsitration for the first 6 years, Dems the last 4. When did 5 MPH bumpers become mandatory? Cat converters?
      My parents had an ’87 Olds 88 with those awful seat beats that came out of the door. That was a Reagan-era car.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      “administration” is one thing.  It depends on who and when the regulations were put into effect.

      The 1970’s seat belt interlock was on one model year only (1974) – the result of regulations promulgated in the late 60’s?.  The public irritation with the interlock was so severe that Congress repealed the “law”.  By the way, Congress did not pass the initial requirement – NHTSA just required it and it became law.  (I owned a 1974 Camaro so equipped – if you placed something on the passenger seat – the interlock wouldn’t allow starting.  Fortunately a simple “fix” was available – unplug the seat sensor).

      The 1980’s “door mounted” seatbelts were an engineering solution chosen by (only?) GM.  There was another equally stupid solution chosen by some manufacturers – the motorized shoulder harness thingy.  Both of these were contraptions to comply with a requirement to have the shoulder belt be “automatic”.  I don’t know the timing of the requirement so I can’t fix “blame” on an “administration”.
       
       

    • 0 avatar

      tced2,

      Some early 1975 models also had the starter interlock.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      Nice pics of the Buick, philr.  I miss the days when car interiors had actual colors from which to choose.  And interesting juxtaposition of it with the Prius parked behind it in the second photo.

    • 0 avatar

      Wagen,

      I really like that car but I have to admit that it took some time before I got used to it’s interior color. My 3 old cars have strange interior colors (I have another one with a two tone blue interior and the other is aqua. 

      As for the car in the background, it’s not a Prius, it’s a VolksWagen!

    • 0 avatar
      hurls

      I know you’ve already corrected the record below (so to speak), but I’d also note that Ray LaHood is a Republican (who, in fact, presided over Clinton’s impeachment).  So it’s not like this is some democratic platform issue :)  He’s just a d-bag, who happen to appear on both sides of the spectrum pretty frequently.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      Sorry for the mistaken identity… the door handle sure reminded me of a 2nd gen Prius.  It looks like the trailing edge of the rear door of that VW is too angular to be a Quantum/Passat.  So, I’m going to guess A2 Golf/Jetta.  Still quite the contrast to the land yacht Buick.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Ray (EEEEKKKK!  It’s a motorcycle!  Those things are sccaarrrryyy…) LaHood doesn’t want to disable cell phones, he wants to disable drivers.  If you haven’t figured out by now, Ray LaHood does not really like cars at all.  Well, for you.  Important government workers like him still will need their limos*, but, you, like all proles throughout history, should be walking.  Well, we will concede the 19th century, and let you take the train.
    *Obviously, government limos will not have cell phone jammers.

  • avatar
    alex_rashev

    THe last line is a little wrong. It should say:

    “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your government in action. ”

    If someone is gonna bring a self-righteous nazi into the government as the secretary of transportation, don’t vote for them. Ever. I can’t believe anyone sane can think of this: “Oh, how do I please the people of the most car-loving country in the world? I know! I’ll appoint the most anti-car elitist I can find on the face of the earth!”.

    I’ve had a dream, where I could sue the federal government for squandering my tax money, and actually win. Can’t wait.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10832&page=43 

    “August 15, 1973, NHTSA required that all Model Year (MY) 1974 passenger vehicles be equipped with an ignition interlock that allowed the vehicle to start only if the driver was seated and the belts were extended more than four inches from their normally stowed position or the belts were latched (Robertson 1975, 1320). In addition, an audible warning was activated if seat belts were unfastened during the trip.2 It was hypothesized that the ignition interlock would increase seat belt use by eliminating two of the most popular ways of defeating the early belt reminder systems: leaving the belt fastened and tucking it behind the seat, or tying a knot in the belt so that it was held out of the retractor (Cohen and Brown 1973, 5).”

    I apologize for blaming the Democrats for this one. I’d mixed this in with the 85 MPH speedo crowd of the Carter Administration.

    • 0 avatar
      alex_rashev

      My project ’74 Camaro has this option. Took us 3 months of driving with a hot-wired starter switch before we figured out the “intermittent non-start problem”. Seat belt first, start the car second, that’s how they expect you to do it, but I don’t follow a specified sequence, even though I always wear a seatbelt, even for a 30-second drive up the driveway. Live and learn.

      Needless to say, I pulled out and bypassed the whole interlock harness when I replaced the seats and carpet. Worst. Idea. Ever.

    • 0 avatar

      “August 15, 1973, NHTSA required that all Model Year (MY) 1974 passenger vehicles be equipped with an ignition interlock that allowed the vehicle to start only if the driver was seated and the belts were extended more than four inches from their normally stowed position or the belts were latched”

      Not all 1974 model cars were required to have the seat belt ignition interlock. Those with air bags were exempted! No starter interlock, no buzzer or seat belt warning light in these! In fact, there were not even shoulder belts!

      My 1975 Buick has airbags and lap belts for those who want to use them!
      http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3137/2672621023_ebf45eece3_b.jpg
      http://farm1.static.flickr.com/104/310436917_c2bb04c907_b.jpg

      I rarely drive newer vehicles with seat belt “reminders” but when those are annoying (more than a tiny light that stays on on the instrument cluster), I fasten the seatbelt on the seat before sitting on it!

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      @philr

      I agree with you on the annoying seatbelt reminders. I always wear my belt anyway, but sometimes if I’m going from the mailbox to home (after having picked up the mail coming home from work) I won’t put it on. The car yells at me and continues to beep for the 30-45 seconds it takes to get home. Then the passenger seat (like many now) has a seperate sensor to see if anybody is in the seat and if they don’t buckle up it will chime in every 2 minutes or so. One time I had given a person a ride home and the car didn’t register that they were no longer in the car so it was continually chiming at me to ensure the passenger (who wasn’t there) was buckled up. It got so annoying that I had to shut the car off at a stop light to reset the sensor.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Actually the Jeep shows the way to fix this problem – just hold your cell phone out the window / sunroof / door. Really all that needs to be done is enforcing the current “hands free” laws. When people start getting tickets for mindless pressing buttons instead of driving then they’ll learn… maybe.

  • avatar

    I’m wondering if cars with On Star or similar services would also be affected by this law, because it’s really dangerous to speak to your mirror!

    Seriously,
    Humans, (probably just like most animals) do get distracted on occasions.

     Sometimes while humans drive they could get distracted by their phone, their radio, their GPS, their passengers, by physical pain, while sneezing,  by something they see or something they think about… Just like computers that sometimes freeze, power failures at home, earthquakes, volcano eruptions or hurricanes, things do get wrong sometimes and accidents do happen… 

    Of course you could decide to live far from a volcano, to avoid the danger caused by a possible eruption, far from tall buildings to avoid what happened on 9/11/2001 or not live in California because, someday, it might get destroyed in a big earthquake… That’s fine but you might still get killed in a sinkhole that eats your house while you’re watching TV … 

    I mean, we could all drive cars that don’t have a GPS or a radio and that have mandatory cell phone jammers but accidents will still happen. There could be a law against getting any passengers on board (especially your kids) to avoid distractions, or a law that specifies you can’t drive at night or while it’s raining or snowing because it’s more hazardous to drive in these conditions but the overpass above your head might still fall on that sunny sunday afternoon… There could also be a law that states you can’t drive while smoking, after drinking a beer or even if you’re under the influence of a Tylenol… Or a law  that prohibits driving an older car without all the currently available safety equipment like ABS, VSC, airbags, seatbelts, or that you can’t drive a motorcycle, or that you can’t ride your bicycle or walk near the street without wearing an helmet, or that you can’t cross a bridge on a windy day…

    Would life be better with all these laws to protect it?

    I don’t think so!

  • avatar
    BMWfan

    Did the government have to get permission to put kids faces on that website? I would be pissed if they put my deceased kids pic on there.

  • avatar
    John R

    There’s gotta be a way to do this. This isn’t it. Some knuckleheads can’ help themselves.
     
    Maybe some sort additional light (blue?) in head/taillamps that illuminate when a cell signal is detected from within the auto? This way other drivers who are actually paying ATTENTION will be aware of these oblivious “drivers”.
     
    It could be a sort of “Scarlet Letter” while at the same time a safety feature. Nothing gets people to stop doing a thing like shame.

    • 0 avatar

      How about the same light turning yellow if you’re using a GPS while driving or when you’re listening to the radio? If you turn up the volume past a certain point, the light could turn red to show other drivers that you might not hear their horn if they use it…
       There should also be a light linked to a smoke sensor to let other people know that you smoke while driving and another blinkimg one on your roof that you could manually turn on to warn other drivers that you’re driving too fast and not stopping at traffic lights because you really need to find a bathroom quick…

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I thought Janet Napolitano had locked up the award for stupidest and most useless cabinet secretary, but you have to give it up to Ray LaHood, he won’t let her have it without a fight.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This is Ray LaHood playing the “try to look proactive” game.  You see this all over the political spectrum: simple solutions, aggressively pushed, not so much to solve the problem but to appeal to base populism.  It’s almost better (for them) if this doesn’t go through because then they get the added benefit of not having to suffer backlash, but still look like a crusader.
     
    People don’t like complex solutions, or solutions that demand they exercise responsibility.  This is why we have things like the Tea Party’s railing about deficits while also refusing to address the major causes of spending.  Or affirmative action, which totally fails to understand the problem’s being poverty, not race.  And people like LaHood prey on that, selling easy solutions for their own personal gain.

    • 0 avatar
      FleetofWheel

      Agree that LaHood is trying to look busy while hoping to not deal with actual implementation of his wacky idea.

      Many on here are stating that taking personality responsibility is the solution and in fact, most people(drivers) do that on a daily basis if you look at millions of miles safely traveled.
       
      On the bigger financial front, both parties are talking about deficit reduction and most Tea Party office holders will be voting spending reductions in major areas to which the MSM/establishment will scream TEOTWAWKI. But surprise, some of the left(of the US) govts in Europe may be trimming too.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The only spending reductions that will do any good are defence, Medicare and Social Security, and the Tea Party rank and file pretty much don’t want those touched, nor do they want taxes raised.
       
      This isn’t a left-right thing: neither side wants the major entitlements cut, and/or neither side has the guts to do anything more than diddle taxes.  There’s no magic here.  Europe is facing similar issues, that’s true, except that the countries forced to do something vis a vis Austerity are actually doing it, and the affected citizenry are actually protesting.

      Buuuuuuut back to the subject at hand: the genie is out of the bottle, and we’re not going to make distracted drivers appreciably better (they’ll still find a way to keep their mind off the road) so the solution, much to Mr. LaHood’s chagrin, isn’t chest-thumping and suchlike, but simple yet effective mitigation technologies like blind-spot radar, pre-braking, collision avoidance and so forth. But such technologies don’t have the feel-good “tough love” earns political karma.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      This is why we have things like the Tea Party’s railing about deficits while also refusing to address the major causes of spending.
      I’m sympathetic to the Tea Party calls for reducing the deficit. I agree with The Heritage Foundation’s proposal to cut $343Billion from the budget. There’s something in there for everyone to hate so its probably pretty good overall. Unfortunately, two of the Heritage ideas totaling $100billion are reducing government waste and inefficiency and rescinding the unspent porkulous spending, the former like getting a pig to fly and the latter maybe a one-time benefit. But it is a start with good and specific ideas. Complexity of implementation – the government is chock full of administrative drones – let them figure it out after the House gives them a budget and directives on where to spend it -with the threat of death by Congressional deposition if they get cute about pet projects or footdragging. This of course assumes that Congress really believes that they work in the country’s interest and even after the elections that is a big assumption. No omnibus appropriations and a lot of hard work on individual items – a few at a time – that don’t allow the free spenders to raise the cry ‘OMG they’re shutting the government down!’. Ultimate goal – a rollback to the penurious days of President Clinton. We didn’t have too little government then did we?

      edit: at 60, I’m ready for SS cuts and/or more means testing, but I want to see meaningful spending and personnel cuts first. Whatever is left to me for SS is just getting gifted to my kids anyway as a way of making amends for how screwed up things are at the beginning of their working lives. Medicare? How about we make it easier to have private plans for retirees? Current government position is if you want SS, you have to have Medicare. Unbelievable, but true and not a law but a regulation. The lawsuit challenging this may drag on like the one in Dicken’s Bleak House.
       

  • avatar
    hurls

    Left unmentioned is the fact that (yep here I go, getting all eurodieselwagony) people are piloting around 5000 lb. cars without a Class C license in the first place.
    There’s a reason that my Miata’s not the DD any longer… and it’s not just housewives with cellphones.. it’s more what they’re driving. (Not to mention the fact that they’ve plenty of other things to distract them).

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Well done, Jack!

    It is not about saving lives…It is all about these filthy political psychopaths getting people out of their automobiles and into controllable cities with “public” cattle movers.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Because living in the far-out exurbs is awesome with increasingly expensive fuel?
       
      I guess I’m lucky. My wife and I live in a nice low-crime suburb and have the luxury of being able to ride public transit to and from work, and also have two cars for errands and pleasure.

  • avatar

    I don’t get it. OK, it’s Ray Lahood, but….
    But why are hands-free talking devices (e.g. via Bluetooth) not an option, as an option? It’s cheap, it’s easy to install and to handle.
    Why would you need scramblers? To prevent foolish/dangerous  behavior?
    Can we succeed in preventing idiots act foolish? Why to prevent it just in cars? Why not at a general level? How, and at what cost? Where would it end?
    Weird and strange.
     

  • avatar
    George B

    Bad idea.  One could detect the motion of the cell phone from the transmitted signal itself and drop the call when motion is detected, but that would disable phones for passengers in cars and buses and trains too.  Put jamming transmitters in cars and, besides the driver/passenger ambiguity problem, you also have the risk that the river of moving cars with jamming transmitters cause interference to someone outside of the cars.  Imagine being broken down at the side of the road and having your calls for help being jammed by other cars passing nearby.  Ray LaHood is too stupid to have a job where he speaks to the public.  Needs to be kept hidden in a back room somewhere.

  • avatar

    Of course Ray LaHood’s blog is called Fastlane, that’s where his limo travels. I hope Ray comes to the NAIAS this year. I’m going to ask him when was the last time he drove himself anywhere.
    In researching my story on Rob Steele, who was running against John Dingell for Congress, I asked Dingell’s spokesperson how frequently Dingell uses a driver and how often he drives himself and didn’t get an answer.

  • avatar
    AJ

    Love the Scrambler! Believe me, I keep my hands on the wheel when I drive my Jeep. Especially after installing an AntiRock (off-road sway bar).

  • avatar

    “It is a way to coerce people out of their cars, yeah…. About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people’s lives.” - Ray LaHood

    Well, at least he’s honest in a Kinsleyesque gaffe kind of way. He’s a joke, a RINO named to the post by Obama because he knows he’ll go along to get along. Last year at the Detroit show the reporters at his press conference were openly laughing at his ignorance of the car industry. Ray thinks that it’s a bad idea that people choose to use their cars, so by switching traffic lanes to buses and bicycles, making driving less convenient will get more drivers out of their cars. Of course, Ray’s never walked or biked to work like he wants you and me to do.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’m sorry, I just do not have a problem with this at all. Literally EVERY time I see someone pull some brain-dead asshat manuever while driving, the idiot is on the PHONE! Far and away, women driving expensive SUVs are the biggest offenders. I am pretty sure that BMW x5s are actually powered by cell phone emissions. Get off the GOD-DAMNED phone and pay attention! It’s no wonder we have to have vehicles that are like padded tanks to save ourselves from ourselves.

    And I say that as someone who has a very nice Bluetooth handsfree setup in his daily driver. Even with that, I can completely agree with the research that says it isn’t the phone, it’s the fact that you are having a conversation with someone who is not present in the environment. I try to use my phone in the car absolutely as minimally as possible, and if it is a conversation of more than a few words, I pull over and park. I drive 25K+ a year, so I spend a LOT of time in the car!

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      Literally EVERY time I see someone pull some brain-dead asshat manuever while driving, the idiot is on the PHONE!

      Second that. I live and drive in California. Supposedly cell phone use while driving is banned here (unless it’s hands free). But I see people doing it all the time. Apparently without legal consequence, the police all relying on red light cameras for enforcement and revenue, or out eating doughnuts.

      But the practical consequences are evident. I have seen several very dangerous driving maneuvers by cell-phone users. One just yesterday, on the freeway at night in the rain. It’s a menace.

      Just like drunk drivers, cell phone users think other people have problems with DWP (driving while phoning), but they can do it fine. Even I used to. But experience has taught me better. If my cell phone rings now, I ignore it (almost all the time), or (on rare occasions) safely pull over and then answer the phone. I never DWP. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      The nice thing is that the State of Washington, where I live, has made use of a cell phone without a hands free device a primary ticketable offense.
       
      This has cut down on phone use in my locale, but blonde women behind the wheels of Lexus SUVs haven’t yet gotten the picture.

  • avatar
    Matthew Sullivan

    Wow,  such righteous indignation at LaHood using pictures of kids who died while driving in order to prevent kids dying while driving.

    I don’t believe TTAC holds the moral high ground on this particular issue.

    TTAC,  after all,  has at least twice illustrated its articles with photographs of people dying.  Not photos of people who have died.  Photographs of people actually being killed.  In neither case was the incident in the photo even the subject of the article.  They were just … decorations,  I guess. 

  • avatar
    shaker

    Ford has that optional gizmo that limits vehicle speed (my Key?) for teen drivers – maybe an aftermarket version could be installed for teens who WILL NOT listen to their parents (who are probably worse offenders) regarding phone/text while driving.
    Mandating jammers? Dumb idea – just keep harping on responsible driving practices – and lead by example when possible.

  • avatar
    jmatt

    I triple-dog dare the Obama adminsitration to mandate cell phone jamming in automobiles.  Then instead of losing the next election by 10%, he will lose it by 20%.  Young, cell phone using voters were a very large section of his voter base in 2008.

  • avatar

    I hate people who have conversations while driving as much or more than most people, but what LaHood is advocating is the equivalent of forcing every car to have a breathalyzer to stop drunk driving.  It’s just a violation of people’s freedom.  What if you want to run the car (in park) to charge your phone while you talk in a parking lot?  What if you are being chased by some crazy stalker and need to call 911?  What if you’re trapped in a snowstorm in your car and need to call out?  People have the right to make choices, good or bad.  If they get in an accident from being on a cell phone, punish that.  Otherwise, there is no reason to intrude on people’s lives like this.
    Anyhow, we already know the Obama administration hates technology that gives people choices, thanks to his reckless statements condemning iPhones, etc.  This is just about control.


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