AAA recently declared
a goal to ban texting while driving. The automobile club is not alone. Yesterday,
the Obama administration said it would seek to ban text messaging
bus drivers and truckers and would encourage states to pass their own laws
against driving cars while distracted. According to Transportation Secretary
Ray LaHood, the administration also plans to put restrictions on cell phone use
by rail operators, truck drivers, and interstate bus drivers.
"Driving while distracted should just feel wrong — just
as driving without a seat belt or driving while intoxicated," LaHood said
at the end of a two-day conference on the problem. "We're not going to
break everyone of their bad habits — but we are going to raise awareness and
sharpen the consequences."
LaHood said President Barack Obama signed an executive order
on Wednesday that will ban all federal workers from texting while driving on
government business, driving government vehicles, or using government equipment.
The administration will also work to disqualify school bus drivers from keeping
their commercial driver's licenses if they are convicted of texting while
There's currently legislation in congress pushed by Sen.
Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that would require states to ban texting or e-mailing
while operating a moving vehicle or lose 25% of their annual federal highway
funding. While LaHood declined to endorse Schumer's bill, he did say that the
administration would work with Congress.
To date, 18 states and the District of Columbia have passed
laws that make texting while driving illegal. Seven states and the District of
Columbia have banned driving while talking on a handheld cell phone.