Secretary LaHood campaigns for national ban on mobile device use while driving
The U.S. Department of Transportation has called for a nationwide ban on the use of mobile devices whilst driving. Distracted driving has been cited as a major contributor to auto accidents throughout the country. These accidents have long been a thorn in the side of the auto insurance industry, but insurers have been divided on whether mobile devices played a significant role in distracted driving. A national ban on the use of mobile technology while driving could have an effect on the price of auto insurance coverage.
Distracted driving a cause of 3,000 fatalities last year
The announcement was made late last week by Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood believes that the use of mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets, is a “national epidemic” and presents a serious risk to drivers throughout the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving resulted in approximately 3,000 fatal accidents in the U.S. last year. The agency claims that using a cell phone while driving is tantamount to having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.8, which is the legal limit.
National Motorists Association opposes LaHood campaign
The National Motorists Association has come out to decry the latest campaign from the Department of Transportation. The organization claims that a national ban on mobile device use would be redundant and a waste of resources. Gary Biller, president of the organization, claims that there are already laws that ban the use of mobile devices in most states. Biller suggests that resources and effort may be better spent in promoting awareness of these existing laws and encouraging drivers to not use mobile devices. Biller notes that using mobile devices is not the only cause of distraction while driving, a sentiment that LaHood does not share.
Insurers concerned that national ban would have negligible impact
LaHood notes that he is unconcerned with drivers that eat or apply makeup while operating a vehicle. This is because LaHood does not believe these actions to be widespread. Conversely, the Transportation Secretary does believe that the vast majority of drivers use mobile devices while driving. Auto insurers have expressed division regarding the matter, with some claiming that a ban on mobile devices would have a marginal impact on their use amongst drivers.