Friday, April 27, 2012

Can Someone Please Explain To Sec. LaHood The Concept of Federalism?

From April 26, 2012 Reuters:

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.


  1. I'll wager an ice cold lager on the commerce clause being used to regulate anything.

    Not that I buy such an excuse. The reality is that it is a popular excuse for big government reactionaries.

  2. No question. CO2 production affects interstate commerce. Therefore, the national government has authority to regulate how vigorously each of us exercises, and when.

  3. I'm waiting for a smart phone company to let you push a single button on the phone so that all calls and texts are answered with "I'm driving right now. Leave a message"

  4. Does Sec. LaHood have any particular experience making stupidity illegal, which would suggest this regulation would be at all effective?

  5. I'll one up that by pointing out that even if you don't exercise the government can regulate your lack of exercise because it drives up the price of Obamacare due to unhealthy lifestyles generally needing more healthcare.

    As the Italians once said, "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato."

    Just don't discuss how that turned out.

  6. If it is such a dangerous epidemic, why are autodeaths down dramatically since the invention of the cell phone. This is just anought made up "epidemic" by the government to grab power.

  7. Won't they just threaten to cut off highway funds just like they do when emissions testing isn't done or followed?

  8. Oh for goodness sake. A fifth of the states have already banned handheld phone use while driving, and even more have banned texting.
    The fifth includes California and just about the whole NYC-DC corridor, so it accounts for much more than a fifth of passenger miles.
    And what effect have these bans, of several years standing, had on accident rates?