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Sec. LaHood is unambiguous on distracted driving: don’t do it
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told NPR yesterday what he told Bloomberg News earlier this month: don’t drive while using a cellphone — including hands-free and Bluetooth devices. He explained that the cognitive distraction of phone conversations causes crashes, regardless of whether the driver is holding the phone.
The Secretary said that officers issued 5,000 tickets during pilot enforcement programs in Hartford, CT, and Syracuse, NY, in a matter of days and “distracted driving dropped dramatically in both of those cities.”
In a discussion about why police officers are allowed to talk on their phones, a caller asked if LaHood supports training that would certify people to use their cellphones while driving. The Secretary’s response was simple: “Absolutely not. Driving and talking is dangerous, using a cellphone or a blackberry is dangerous while you are driving.” He later scolded a driver for calling-in while driving, suggesting that they take another caller, but at that point time was up and the interview was concluded.
As always, check out our Advocacy Advance report on distracted driving to learn more about how bicycling organizations have campaigned for texting bans and other laws to stop distracted driving.
Secretary LaHood talks about Distracted Driving
UPDATE: Also, see this interview in Grist in which the Secretary talks about how his upbringing in Peoria, IL shaped his understanding of livability. Hat tip: StreetsBlog Capitol Hill