A complete ban on cell phone use in cars?

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood suggests banning all cell phone communication in the car might be needed to reduce accidents and injuries:

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls, as his department begins research that may lead him to push for a ban.

LaHood, whose campaign against texting and making calls while driving has led to restrictions in 30 states, says his concerns extend to vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford Motor Co.’s Sync and General Motors Co.’s OnStar.

If LaHood pushes forward with this, it will be fascinating to see how people, companies, and interest groups respond. One analyst suggests in this article that these practices are already ingrained and would be very difficult, if not impossible to change. Perhaps people will even suggest it is their “right” to use a cell phone in the car. However, the government could enact certain regulations tied to certain incentives that might help people (and lower levels of government) make this choice. All in all, this could be a very interesting cultural battle between safety and individualism.

A reminder: it wasn’t that long ago that no one could talk by phone while in the car.

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