Ray LaHood Says Cars Should Disable Cell Phones

By | November 21, 2010

Ray LaHoodWe think there’s pretty much a consensus that driving and texting is stupid and will get you killed at least 50% of the time. Talking on the phone, however, isn’t dangerous at all if you are smart and using a headset to keep both hands on the wheel (which, admittedly, most people don’t). Honestly, what is the difference between having a conversation with someone on a phone through a headset and talking to a passenger in the front seat? Not a whole lot. Add some people talking from the backseats and you’ve got yourself a situation that is probably more distracting than a one on one phone call would ever be.

We like to believe that this logic would work with most people, but don’t try using it on the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood. See, LaHood is all about safe driving and in his opinion cell phones are just about the most unsafe thing on the road. In fact, to end distracted driving, LaHood stated that one day the U.S. government will likely require all cars to come with devices capable of disabling cell phones.

“I think it will be done,” says  LaHood. “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 we’re going to save lives.”

Old people don’t like mobile technology, we’re convinced. Furthermore, there is a myriad of problems with, chief among which is how will the car know to disable just the drivers phone and not the phones of passengers?

You know what- that doesn’t really matter, because we really don’t think that LaHood’s vision will come to fruition. Safe driving should be a priority, but work with people to make it happen. Give them a carrot and don’t use a stick. Make something like Ford’s Sync mandatory on all vehicles but do not take our phones away. If you do, Mr. LaHood, you’ll be forever seen as an evil, child-eating road kaiser.

[Chad Waite, The Daily Caller]


Tyson Call on November 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm.

Sorry Chad, but your logic is bad.nnA passenger in the front seat is an active participant in driving. They will react to conditions around them, whereas a person on the other end of the phone will not. A person in the front seat will understand if the driver doesn’t answer a question immeditely because of a hairy left turn, whereas the phone person won’t. nnA phone conversation transports one to another place slightly, while a conversation with a real person keeps you more grounded. nnSecond, there is no question that even having a conversation with a real person is dangerous. Simply saying X is just as dangerous as Y is not a good argument. For instance, saying “Well people fiddle with their air conditioning controls, and we haven’t banned those” is a similar argument, but doesn’t help your position. You shouldn’t use those while driving either. People are expected to use discretion. nnI don’t think that these devices are the answer. But there is no question that cell phone conversations are dangerous while driving. Maybe not as much as texting, but more than just driving with another person or alone. nnI still love you.

Chad Waite on November 22, 2010 at 8:01 am.

Eh, not so much. nnWhen you talk to someone in a car, you’re most likely going to take your eyes off the road to look at them at points in the conversation. You’ll also probably talk a lot more with your hands then you would if you were on the phone. And talking with your hands means taking them off the wheel. Now call me crazy, but taking your eyes off the road and using your hands to communicate is a lot more dangerous than just talking to a voice inside your ear.nnAs far as this “if x is worse than y” comparison is concerned, you’ve actually completely just proved my point. It wasn’t meant to be an argument again using phones but a statement to show that if using phones is just as bad as a million other things, then why ban just the phone? Why not just realize that most people are terrible drivers and the act of operating a car consists of a lot more distractions than just a phone?

Tyson Call on November 22, 2010 at 9:33 am.

I’m not trying to be a jerk, so tell me when to shut up. But here is some hard data in support of my position on phone vs. passenger safety:nnhttp://www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/Passenger-Cellphone-Conversations.pdfnnIt is not my theory, I am merely repeating what I have heard. nnYou misunderstood my X vs Y argument since you repeated it. To clarify: saying that there are many other distractions in the car does not persuade anyone that this bill is a bad idea, only that there is much more work to be done to make the roads safer. More bills perhaps? You have only convinced me that we may need a bill for air conditioning knobs as well.nnThis is a fallacy of relevance, or more specifically, the “two wrongs make a right” fallacy.

Eran B on December 1, 2010 at 4:55 am.

I think like most government car regulations its complete bulls**t

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