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LaHood suggests mobile phones should come with warning labels

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LaHood suggests mobile phones should come with warning labels

by Zach Bowman (RSS feed) on Sep 22nd 2010 at 3:01PM

Judging from the statistics that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently released, distracted driving is a big problem here in the States. Researchers have found that one of the largest sources of distraction behind the wheel comes from hand-held devices – cell phones, smart phones, media players and the like. According to The Detroit News, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has mentioned that he would like to see some sort of visual warning on cell phones alerting users to the dangers of using the devices while behind the wheel.

However, the suggestion isn't likely to evolve into a full-fledged motion by NHTSA. LaHood simply made the comment off-hand during an interview, but that doesn't mean that mobile phone makers weren't paying attention. The handheld phone industry has said that it will meet with LaHood to discuss the possibility, though its products come with a warning about being careful while operating them.

Would it help? We seriously doubt it. Mobile phones have evolved into too great a temptation for most drivers to ignore while behind the wheel, and another visual warning isn't going to do too much to change that.



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Auto Safety Chief Says Cellphones Need Warning Labels Like Cigarettes

America's top auto safety official says cellphones should come with cigarette-style warning labels about distracted driving, and warned automakers were making the "epidemic" worse with their dashboard gadgetry. Next stop: government mandated thumb socks?.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Tuesday held his second high-profile summit on distracted driving this year, where he took the auto industry to task for adding features such as the ability to update Facebook from behind the wheel. Thanks in part to LaHood's aggressive lobbying and a general outcry, 30 states now ban texting while driving, and more are in progress.

But LaHood went further, saying cellphone makers should consider warnings on their packaging about the dangers of driving while using them, "the way we put warning labels on cigarettes." He also touted research showing that new laws had reduced the number of drivers using their phones behind the wheel.

We're all for safe driving and paying attention. But maybe there'd be less of a political bandwagon smell about LaHood's efforts if there was proof banning texting behind the wheel actually reduces crashes, rather than having the government label those who raise such questions "irresponsible."

Photo: AP



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What's next, makeup compacts coming with "Don't apply in front of your rearview mirror" labels? Fast food wrappers? Good lord...

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