Distracted Driving: What's Your Solution?

"If it were up to me," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday, "I would ban drivers from texting, but unfortunately, laws aren't always enough. We've learned from past safety awareness campaigns that it takes a coordinated strategy combining education and enforcement to get results."

LaHood had just announced a September 2009 summit in Washington, D.C., to discuss driver distraction with officials, experts, and law enforcement, calling the event "a crucial first step in our efforts to put an end to distracted driving." He added, "The bottom line is, distracted driving is dangerous driving. Following next month's summit, I plan to announce a list of concrete steps we will take to make drivers think twice about taking their eyes off the road for any reason."

DOT's "big stick" is withholding highway construction funds, and a texting-while-driving (TWD) ban introduced last week in the U.S. Senate already proposes to take that step. What else can DOT, states, and law enforcement do? What should they do or not do about distracted driving?

Possible actions include:

  • Texting primary enforcement
  • Texting checkpoints
  • Criminal or civil penalties for TWD violations
  • Pressure on manufacturers of hand-held communication devices to change their products
  • Pressure on manufacturers of motor vehicles to install jamming or disabling technology in vehicles
  • Mandatory TWD training of novice drivers
  • A national ban or bans in all states and the District of Columbia

Posted by Jerry Laws on Aug 06, 2009