NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The man in charge of the nation’s transportation system is taking aim at Texas and more than a dozen other states that don’t have bans on texting and driving.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stressed his point Thursday while attending a seminar on distracted driving in San Antonio.
“We need people to take personal responsibility to put their cell phones and texting devices in the glove compartment when they get in the car,” he said. “We need states to pass good laws and we need good enforcement of the laws.”
Texas is one of 14 states that do not have a ban on texting and driving.
“Thirty-six states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam, have done it. Our intention is to try and persuade the other states to do it too,” LaHood said of his effort. “There’s no reason not to pass good laws.”
According to LaHood, statistics show accidents drop in states that enforce texting bans.
“When law enforcement pays attention to this and start writing tickets, when people are on cell phones or using BlackBerrys and it’s illegal in the state, distracted driving goes down,” he said.
Last year there more than 81,000 crashes in Texas that involved some type of distracted driving.
LaHood says sending the simplest of text messages while behind the wheel on a highway generally results in 100 yards of inattentive driving. He said the problem should be of concern to drivers, passengers, lawmakers and police.
“We need people to take personal responsibility to put their cell phones and texting devices in the glove compartment when they get in the car. We need states to pass good laws and we need good enforcement of the laws.”
Physicians and accident victims joined federal, state and local officials for the Texas Distracted Driving Summit.