Transportation Secretary Calls Mobile Devices ‘Menace’
A menace to society. Those were the words used by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood when he kicked off a two-day meeting on preventing drivers from using mobile devices.
According to the Obama administration, nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million injured last year in vehicle crashes connected to driver distraction.
LaHood hopes to offer up several suggestion at the conclusion of the meeting that could lead to new restrictions on using the devices while driving. LaHood said the administration would work with congress to develop ways of curbing distracted driving.
Transportation officials say driver distraction was involved in 16% of all fatal car accidents in 2008. LaHood mentioned that on any given day last year, more than 800,000 vehicles were operated by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws making texting illegal. In addition, seven stats and D.C. have banned driving while talking on a cell phone. Currently, Wisconsin does not have any type of restriction on cell phone usage while driving.
The article went on to mention that Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater. Dialing a cell phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased the risk of collision 6 times greater.
So, to those who say they are perfectly capable of texting while driving, the problem may not be you, it may be the person driving next to you!