Popsci.com, the online version of Popular Science,
reported November 19 that the Obama administration is considering disabling cellphones
in cars. The effort is said to be an attempt to stop distracted driving and reduce cellphone-related deaths.
Popsci quoted Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, well-known national crusader against distracted driving, who said federal officials are looking at the technology: "I think it will be done. 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 we're going to save lives."
Last Tuesday LaHood announced a new video campaign
, called “Faces of Distracted Driving.” The New York Times
wrote on November 18 that a new video will be released every few weeks, aimed at raising awareness about the consequences of distracted driving. Videos feature people who have lost loved ones due to distracted-driving related crashes.
The New York Times continued with a quote from David Teater, senior director for transportation initiatives for the National Safety Council. He indicated that he expected the campaign to make an impact. “Putting a face on distracted driving really gets people to move,” he said, as the public was often more responsive to personal stories than to data or scientific evidence.
Last year more than 5,500 people were killed in these crashes, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
A recent poll
shows that nearly two-thirds of those polled support a national ban on cellphone use while driving. However, U.S. DOT spokeswoman Olivia Alair comments, “The Department of Transportation currently has no plans to endorse any particular technology.”
The poll did not ask how people feel about government-issued phone scramblers or other disabling devices. But many are asking if such a measure is in the purview of the federal government rather than at a state level, or any level.