The Obama administration is considering disabling cell phones in American cars, aiming to cut down on distracted drivers and cell-phone-related road deaths.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the nation’s preeminent anti-distracted-driving crusader, said in an interview on MSNBC yesterday that federal officials are looking at technology to disable cell phones inside cars.
“I think it will be done,” LaHood said. “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 were going to save lives.”
Also on Thursday, the SecTrans launched a new “Faces of Distracted Driving” video campaign that features people who have been killed or lost loved ones because of inattentive drivers. The video features heartwrenching stories of children killed in crashes because of text messaging, and new videos are expected to be added every few weeks, according to the New York Times.
More than 5,500 people were killed last year by distracted drivers, and another 500,000 were injured, according to the Department of Transportation. LaHood has said it is never safe to talk on a cell phone while driving, hands-free or not, because it is a “cognitive distraction.”
Incidentally, a lot of people seem to agree with this sentiment — a new poll released Thursday shows nearly two-thirds of American support a national ban on the use of cell phones while driving, even if the driver is using a hands-free device. But the poll didn’t ask how people feel about government-issued mobile phone scramblers or other disabling devices.