Obama and LaHood Team Up To Slay Distracted Driving. Sort Of.

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Having declared distracted driving an “epidemic” and “menace to society,” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood moved to protect the American public with decisive leadership… by example. According to a DOT press release,

Last night, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles; when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving; or while driving privately owned vehicles when they’re on official government business. The order also encourages federal contractors and others doing business with the government to adopt and enforce their own policies banning texting while driving on the job.

Which is a bit like fighting an epidemic (to continue Secretary LaHood’s metaphor) by telling federal employees to take an aspirin. Unless LaHood decided that the problem wasn’t as big as was making it out to be…

“This order sends a very clear signal to the American public that distracted driving is dangerous and unacceptable. It shows that the federal government is leading by example. I fully expect that all 58,000 DOT employees and contractors will take this order seriously. Let’s show our friends and families that we can resist the temptation to answer the phone, send a message, or allow some other distraction to interfere with our driving”

That, or it proves that you made a hot fuss about something you couldn’t do a thing about. So the president gave you a pat on the head and told you to go find a new issue to play with. On the upside, the ability to imagine in-car distraction as an epidemic (as opposed to say, a fact of life) makes it so much easier to imagine the public looking to federal employees as role models.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • FreedMike FreedMike on Oct 03, 2009

    OK, there's something WRONG with this? Jeez...

  • Mpresley Mpresley on Oct 03, 2009

    I don't know about you, but I'm sleeping much sounder tonight knowing the Feds aren't text messaging. Nothing like government in action...

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.