Sister Mary LaHood – No Talking in Cars

by Steve MacDonald

Could This Be Ray LaHood?

(Originally posted Oct 11th, 2010 – Seem relevant to re-post this given that NH HB 1117 went to executive session yesterday.)

Bloomberg reports that Transportation nanny Ray ‘Sister Mary’ LaHood believes that all cell phone use in motor-vehicles, including hands free, are distracting.  Well, no kidding Mr. Einstein.   Prior to the invention of the cell phone we had something similar, which sometimes still occurs in moving vehicles–it’s called talking.  If Sister Mary LaHood took the time to read his own historical crash statistics he’d find that there were actually as many or more collisions and deaths as a result of just talking to another passenger in the same car (before the cell phone was invented) as we have today.

You know what else is distracting?… children, pets, cheeseburgers, hot coffee, bikini-clad girls, other people’s bad driving, being in love, fall foliage,  trying to find a song on the radio that doesn’t suck, the sound of Barack Obama’s voice makes you want to drive into a ditch, the heater not coming on fast enough, even the celestial bodies of the universe are distracting.  Is LaHood going to try to ban the sun next?

I’ve just about had all I can stand of these freaking liberal, pantywaist, over-intellectualized, holy crap what can I do to fix something that’s not broken busy bodies who clearly have way too much free time on their hands.

Banning hands-free, Bluetooth, and in-car smart systems only makes sense if you also ban car radios, environmental control systems (you know, heater/AC?) and passengers, as any one or combination of these things inside a vehicle is just as distracting or more so than that which he now considers banning.

Don’t think they won’t try.

So at some point in the near future, if you are caught talking in the car, even to yourself, someone from DOT or perhaps a nice police officer, might ask you to pull over so they can smack you on the back of the hand with a “ruler.” (A very small portion of the population may actually like that.)



Leave a Comment

  • allen

    these are all the same arguments they had back in the early 70’s about CB radios.

    • Steve

      Before that, they argued the same of regular radios.

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  • Timothy Horrigan

    You probably didn’t make up the factoid about “there were actually as many or more collisions and deaths as a result of just talking to another passenger in the same car (before the cell phone was invented) as we have today.” But even though you (probably) got this from someone else’s talking point, I will still point out that there is no data for that.

    In any case, cell phone calls are not in lieu of talking to passengers, it’s in addition to talking to passengers. Also, passengers are in physically in the car, and in most cases will be at least dimly aware of what’s happening on the road, which means they can alert the driver to hazards, shut up when the road conditions get especially scary, etc.

    • Steve

      Sorry Timmy. You’re talking points are getting in the way of the truth. You really should get out of the blue bubble more.

      I’ve spent years watching and crunching crash and fatality data. At the beginning of the cell phone era, there were an average of 42-43,000 dealths and around 6.3 million collissions per year. That number has been on a downward slope throughout the 2000’s into the 20-teens. Collissions are down by almost one million per year, deaths are down 20 from pre-cell years, and injuries are also down. While most collissions are still a result of distraction, blaming cell phones ignores not just the data but human nature and all the factors relatd to distraction over the decades.

      Now, the NHTSA used to post specific data stating talking to someone in the car was just as distracting as using a phone in your car–they have deleted that or moved the study data. I may have a printed copy from 2005/2006, but I’m not sure where to find it at the moment.

      What has chnaged is the Transportation agencies narrative painting cell phones as a boogey-man to be slain, even though, by their own admission, there is no conclusive evidence that suggests it would make any difference.

      This is the synopsis of the NHTSA’s postion on all types of ‘conversation’ in a motor vehicle related to distraction.

      [quote]Most crashes involve a relatively unique set of circumstances that make precise calculations of risk for engaging in different behaviors very difficult. Thus, the available research does not provide a definitive
      answer as to which behavior is riskier. Different studies and analyses
      have arrived at different relative risk estimates for different tasks.
      However, they all show elevated risk (or poorer driving performance)
      when the driver is distracted. It is also important to keep in mind
      that some activities are carried out more frequently and for longer
      periods of time and may result in greater risk.[end quote]

      In the case of HB1117, banning one form of conversation while ignoring the others, when they may all create similar degrees of risk for distraction–according to the NHTSA–appears more like partisan spleen venting at a manufactured bogey-man, for the benefit of appearing to have done something.

      HB1117 is cumbersome, unenforceable, will distract law enforcmenet from higher priorities, and in the end fails to address all the risks it claims to resolve, based entirely on partian perceptions.

      • Steve

        Sorry, lft out the ‘%.’ Fatalities are Down about 20%

      • Radical Moderate

        I absolutely concur with your stats. But it appears that facts are lost on them at this point, but what’s worse is that they have now even stopped listening. This is just part of the full court press the Democrats and RINO’s are conducting because they know a vast majority of both groups will be gone in November.
        Heck, now that the Democrats have shown its alright to take off the gloves and go hog wild on the Constitution, there is no reason why we couldn’t just stack the NH legal system with right-wing zealots and then pass a retroactive law to hold them civilly liable for their malfeasance while in public office. Why even stop there, State issued cupcakes on Mondays for everyone! Weeeeeeeee!
        Thanks’ Dem’s for showing us how its done :-p

      • Don

        Steve, you’re confusing poor Timmy with the facts you know that upsets him.

  • Steve

    I saw that. jeesh.

    • Radical Moderate

      Forgot to mention that can disable the engine on command as well.
      Yup. Full court press.

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