Thursday, July 1, 2010


Department of Transportation "Secretary LaHood believes that distracted driving is a dangerous and growing problem that threatens the lives of Americans," said DOT spokeswoman Olivia Alair. "We are doing everything possible to combat talking on the phone and texting while driving and others who care about safety will join our effort – not undermine it.”

But that is exactly the mission of certain lobbyists in Washington who see an opportunity in the national distracted driving "debate" and have prepared a pitch to cell phone companies, car manufacturers, insurance and public safety groups to fight against what they say could lead to a full ban on cell phones while driving.

In other words - these communications and car companies have, to date, allowed states to pass laws, education programs to be directed to drivers, celebrities and non-profit groups to organize to save lives. But the lobbyists see an opportunity to make money on this issue and in the interest of making money, they have developed a pitch to fight against these efforts to save lives.

They identify Secretary Lahood and Oprah Winfrey as the biggest threats to the cell phone, automobile, GPS, and insurance industries that stand to lose (money?) from regulations that would prohibit the use of devices while driving. It seems like the insurance companies would be winners from these bans, and I am not sure why they include GPS devices, I have not heard of those being an issue.

Most states are banning the use of handheld phones only, although it has been shown that it is the distraction of the phone conversation, not just holding the phone that can be an issue. So, as usual, they make these things sound so much more dire and dramatic than they actually are, claim losses to their business (because drivers have to wait until they park to use the phone?)

“With industries remaining silent, national transportation authorities and media celebrities have hijacked the debate, a dire consequence to reasonable regulation,” the lobbying firm wrote in its proposal. I SAY BULL TO THE SH*T. And I hope the companies who they consider potential clients say the same thing. It is time to realize that we do not need to be in constant communication at the risk of people's lives.

1 comment:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I can see how the GPS is distracting, but then I remember how we used to be reading mapquest directions and, before that, consulting a Thomas Guide--that can't have been any less distracting. Though we pulled over to read the Thomas Guide.