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DOT Secretary Wants to Disable All In-Car Cell Phones

ray lahoodEradicating distracted driving has long been a top priority for U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Now, he's apparently willing to go to even greater lengths to ensure that we never have the opportunity to call or text from behind the wheel.

During a recent appearance on MSNBC, LaHood said the U.S. government may one day require all cars to come equipped with devices capable of disabling cell phones. "I think it will be done," LaHood said on Wednesday. "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." LaHood went on to say that such technology would target not only a driver's cell phone, but all mobile devices belonging to in-car passengers, as well. He did stress, however, that "personal responsibility" remains paramount for all safe drivers.

LaHood's on-air appearance coincided with the launch of a new online campaign called 'Faces of Distracted Driving' -- a series of videos featuring first-hand accounts from people who have been injured by distracted drivers. "Just last year, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 500,000 more were injured in distracted driving-related crashes," LaHood wrote in a blog post announcing the initiative. "These lives, and too many others like them, were cut short -- not because of malice, but because of carelessness."

It's pretty clear that statistics and scare tactics have yet to resonate with many drivers. But, is cutting off all in-car cell phones the only other solution? Constantly ringing phones certainly add an extra element of peril to any highway, but they also offer a safety net to drivers who may be in danger, or lost in a shady part of town. Disabling all phones certainly seems like the easy solution, but it's certainly not without its own potentially dangerous downsides.

Tags: car, cellphones, DepartmentOfTransportation, DistractedDriving, politics, RayLahood, TextingWhileDriving, top, transportation