The new Liaison to the Automobile Industry with the U.S. Department of Labor
April 27, 2012: Now U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is calling for federal legislation against cell phone use while driving, but he’s doubling down on the nanny statism:
He said he has called the CEOs of major car companies and encouraged them to “think twice” before placing too many Internet-based systems into new cars.
“Think twice.” What’s that supposed to mean anyway? Will there be “consequences?” That kind of phone call seems more fitting of Don Corleone than a Cabinet Secretary.
The Obama Administration continues to demonstrate their contempt for the free market principles that allowed the United States to provide more opportunity for more people than any other country in the history of the world.
December 14, 2011: It’s been almost three years since I wrote this but – Hey, look! – it’s relevant again with the news that the NTSB is recommending a national ban on the use of cell phones while driving.
When it comes to nannies, I say, “why settle for less than the best?” Unfortunately, the Nanny National Safety Council says otherwise. Consumer watch dog groups continue their assault on our personal freedoms and private lives. I’d much rather have Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar than the National Safety Council and their forced feedings of illusory safety.
Jan Lowy of the Associated Press tells us the group is now advocating a total ban on cell phone use while driving, citing evidence that hands-free as well as hand-held phone use increase the risk of being involved in a collision. They acknowledge that it may be “years” before they achieve their goal of a total ban on cell phone use. (Full Article)
Maybe it will be years because it will take that long to convince people that they’re too incompetent to drive while speaking. Next up on the agenda? Banning chewing gum while walking. Your danger of choking is increased!
The organization’s president, Janet Froetscher, says, among other things, that, “It’s not just what you’re doing with your hands — it’s that your head is in the conversation and so your eyes are not on the road.”
I can understand an increased risk of accidents if people are dialing the phone or, God help us, texting while driving, but I fail to see how carrying on a conversation with someone via means of my Bluetooth headset differs appreciably from carrying on a conversation with a front seat passenger. Except that I’m never tempted to turn and look at my conversational counterpart when speaking over the phone. Oh, but wait! That would actually decrease my risk of being involved in an accident.
I may be in the minority on this issue, but I can say with confidence (based on personal experience), that driving while talking on a cell phone is far less distracting than driving with a toddler climbing out of her car seat behind you while she simultaneously chucks toys at the back of your head, but I don’t hear anyone talking about banning children under the age of five from cars.
And I don’t speak from personal experience on these, but I’m guessing it’s also far less distracting than driving while shaving, reading, eating a hamburger or putting on makeup – all of which I’ve seen more than once – but I don’t hear anyone talking about banning any of those things either.
I thought I’d reached a point in my life where I could be trusted to make some decisions on my own. I would like the government to allow me to do so, understanding that safety cannot be guaranteed; other people may make foolish choices and endanger their own lives and the lives myself and my family. That is one of the risks we take when we live in a free society.
I wonder how far we, as a nation, will let the nanny state intrude in the name of safety before we recognize the crushing weight of oppression.