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.
Tough federal legislation is the only way to deal with what he called a "national epidemic," he said at a distracted-driving summit in San Antonio, Texas, that drew doctors, advocates and government officials.
LaHood said it is important for the police to have "the opportunity to write tickets when people are foolishly thinking they can drive safely or use a cell phone and text and drive."It is a national epidemic. But this is the domain of the states. Some states, such as Idaho, have banned texting while driving. Oregon bans use of cell phones (except hands-free). I think that in both cases the existing laws about inattentive driving are sufficient, but these are at least properly a state's responsibility to determine the law. The federal government's authority on this is limited to roads that are entirely under the national government's jurisdiction: military bases; national parks; territories; the District of Columbia.