Ray LaHood Wants to Expand Nanny State

Posted on Oct 10 2010 - 1:00am by Harrison

How much common sense he has.

Ray LaHood (R) is President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation and he is pushing very hard to increase the Nanny State when it comes to what you’re driving and how you drive.  He came under fire from many for coming down on Toyota for its sudden acceleration issue which, so far as anybody can prove up to this point, was 100% caused by driver error (much like the same issue Audi faced during the 1980s).  Mr. LaHood doesn’t think anybody should ever use their phone while they are driving, even if they have a handsfree device installed in their vehicle:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls, as his department begins research that may lead him to push for a ban.

LaHood, 64, said even hands-free phone conversations are a “cognitive distraction.” Calling for a ban on hands-free communications is a possible outcome of research under way at the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into all driver distractions, Olivia Alair, a department spokeswoman, said.

The Nanny State operates from the principle that the Individual doesn’t know best… the Government does.  Nanny States believe that people will generally make the wrong decisions (as defined by the Nanny State) and thus laws are needed to “correct” this wrong behavior.  You would think that passing a law to try and prevent people from making any phone calls while driving must mean that talking on the phone and driving is the #1 cause of accidents or else why the crackdown?

A recent study has pointed out it is “driver distractions” which cause accidents:

A new study [by the Highway Loss Data Institute] suggests that laws banning talking on or sending text messages with cell phones while driving may not significantly decrease the risk of traffic accidents. Instead, experts suggest dealing with the problem of distracted drivers in general.

“People have been driving distracted since cars were invented,” Rader said. “Focusing on cell phones isn’t the same as focusing on distracted driving. Distraction is what has always caused car crashes, and cell phones don’t appear to be adding to that.”

Indeed, Rader said the study also indicates that even though cell phone usage nationally has exploded over the past several years, and more than 89 percent of the U.S. population owns a cell phone, there has been no uptick nationally in the number of car accidents.

Even Gov. Schwarzenegger's wife can't hang up and drive.

89% of the U.S. population owns cell phones but accidents haven’t increased?  Ray LaHood wants to ban cell phone use, even if it’s handsfree?

In New York, HLDI said its researchers found that collision claims decreased compared to other states, but the decrease began before the state’s ban on hand-held phoning took effect.

Why not ban changing the radio station or eating in your car?  Because cell phones are easy targets and they make Liberals feel like they are “doing something” about reducing car accidents.  It’s easier to pass a law for cell phones than say, raise requirements for driver training, increase the cost of getting a license for first time driver’s or requiring an annual safety inspection for each car that’s on the road to make sure it’s fully operational.  Many driver’s may not even know there vehicle has a mechanical problem which could potentially cause a crash.

But doing those things would be very difficult even though they would make the largest dent in reducing car accidents.

If the Nanny State makes all the decisions for people then the people get dumber.  It should be common sense to pay attention while driving.  Banning cell phone use by driver’s doesn’t work… banning cell phone use even when one is using a handsfree device crosses the line.  People spend more time in their cars every year and attempting to clamp down on this type of behavior is just another example of the government stepping in where it doesn’t belong.

5 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. LD Jackson October 10, 2010 at 2:44 AM -

    How right you are, Harrison. If the government can think of a way to stick their paws into our lives, they seem intent on doing it. They refuse to deal with the real issues and do something that stands a chance of actually accomplishing some good. Instead, they want to go after something that isn’t that big of a deal. Same old song and dance, if you ask me.
    LD Jackson recently posted..Political spending – Chamber of Commerce goes to war

  2. Dean October 12, 2010 at 10:56 AM -

    OK, I’m going to wander off the rez a bit on this. Intuitively and anecdotaly speaking, how can texting and dialing numbers on your celly (and even talking on a hands-free device) NOT be a distraction?

    We’ve all seen a car drifting all over the place and when we pass said car, sure ’nuff, the idiot driver is actually texting.

    I struggle mightily with this as I do see the further incursion of the nanny state but… holy smokes, put down the damn phone!

    Someone throw me a life line before I lose my conserva-libertarian street cred.

    • Harrison October 12, 2010 at 11:00 AM -

      Two things. Firstly, people should use good judgment when it comes to their cell phones and driving. Secondly, the article was more about LaHood wanting to ban handsfree devices in cars.

  3. Dean October 12, 2010 at 1:51 PM -

    So, you’re saying I should actually read the linked article? 😉 Thanks.

    • Harrison October 12, 2010 at 3:30 PM -

      Well perhaps I didn’t emphasize the “handsfree” ban as much as I should have is all I meant…