Should Ray LaHood Control Kissing? – Why Not?

Federal Control of Kissing – Why Not?

Honorable Ralph M. Hall
2405 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515-4304  

Subject: Secretary LaHood Seeks to Ban Cell Phone Use While Driving

Congressman Hall,

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood called on Thursday for a federal law to ban talking on a cell phone or texting while driving any type of vehicle on any road in the country.

If Ray LaHood wants to take control of a so-called “national epidemic” of distracted driving, why should he not also take over parking meters and perhaps kissing?

Back on topic: Do we really have a problem with cell phone users? What are the facts?

Highway deaths peaked in 2002, recording more highway fatalities than any year since 1990. Last year, 2011, saw the lowest number of highway deaths since 1949.

According to a study of 13.8 million incidents by SmartDrive Systemsthat studied distractive behaviors of commercial drivers, all recorded on video,

Ray LaHood - Transportation Secretary

handheld cell phones contributed to only 13.4% of those incidents. The study identified nine common distractions, listed below according to significance:

  1. Object in hand – 44.5%
  2. Talking on a handheld mobile phone – 13.4%
  3. Beverages – 12.7%
  4. Food – 10.1%
  5. Smoking – 9.9%
  6. Operating a handheld device – 9.1%
  7. Talking/listening with hands-free mobile phone – 5.2%
  8. Manifest, map or navigation – 1.0%
  9. Grooming and/or personal hygiene – 0.6%

Similar research in Great Britain in a survey of 1,000 motorists indicated a range of distractions including:

  • Adjusting the car stereo – 76%
  • Drinking – 66%
  • Eating – 64%
  • Reading maps – 41%
  • Handling CD’s – 50%
  • Talking on cell phones – 42%
  • Reading books
  • Kissing
  • Applying makeup
  • Swatting insects
  • Shaving

Above percentages represent admission via voluntary responses.

It’s easy to see a driver clearly distracted by use of a hand-held cell phone. Less obvious are other distractions – it’s somewhat difficult to put a CD player up to your ear.

If Secretary LaHood’s proposal becomes a bill, I suggest you amend the bill to include all the above distractions – kissing, handling car stereos, swatting insects and eating-while-driving.

While you’re at it, let’s also outlaw pretty girls within eyesight of public thoroughfares and the presence of law enforcement vehicles – both can be

Hon. Ralph M. Hall
Hon. Ralph M. Hall - Chairman, House Science Committee

unimaginably distracting.

The last time the federal government took over highway law enforcement, Jimmy Carter’s Democrats gave us that worthless 55 MPH national speed limit that motivated millions of motorists to become radio operators almost overnight.

State legislatures do a much better job of writing traffic laws. And, just saying in passing, I don’t believe the states gave power to the federal government to regulate speed on American highways. For reference: The Tenth Amendment is on-line for review.

Thank you,

The Rockwall Conservative
Rockwall, Texas

PS – Let’s exclude a ban on kissing while driving (KWD). Do so could force young couples to park all over our highways and THAT could be dangerous.

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