My Cato post is here. I’d wish him bon voyage, but somehow it’s hard to associate him with happy travels.
Update: I’ve now expanded my thoughts into a Daily Caller op-ed.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s press spokesman describes as “inaccurate” Reuters’ report that his boss endorses a Congressionally enacted national across-the-board ban on cellphone use. (The Newspaper; our earlier posts here and here; Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg View).
More from The Newspaper:
At the same time that the US Department of Transportation is pushing laws to ban in-car cell phone use, it is promoting the “511” government program that encourages drivers to dial 511 for information on traffic conditions instead of tuning in to a traffic reports on AM radio.
Related: “Communities start to fine for texting and walking” [USA Today]
Politico quotes me on the latest harebrained idea from the U.S. Department of Transportation, known for Secretary Ray LaHood’s crusade against “distracted driving”:
Olson called the idea that law enforcement would be focused on using spotters perched atop overpasses “creepy” and suggested it turns police officers into “peeping toms.”
“We drive under [overpasses], so it’s not a perfect expectation of privacy; but if we saw someone staring down and hoping to look into our laps, we’d think of them as creepy,” Olson said.
Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which has been out front of the effort to curb distracted driving, scoffed at the notion that there is any expectation of privacy in a car.
Earlier here, etc.
The federal government should keep its busy hands off local traffic laws — and that goes for bribing states to its will, as well as issuing direct orders. Today the House will debate a measure that would make that point by cutting off a fledgling program that would pay states for doing what “distracted driving” crusader and DoT secretary Ray LaHood lacks the constitutional authority or political capital to do directly. I explain in my new post at Cato at Liberty.
I’ve got an op-ed in Saturday’s Orange County Register taking exception to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s call for Congressional legislation to ban “talking on a cellphone or texting while driving any type of vehicle on any road in the country.” Something you might not have known: the feds blame a crash on distraction if a cellphone is so much as “in the presence of the driver at the time of the crash.” (Distracted Driving Summit Press kit (PDF), “Traffic Safety Facts” p. 2, h/t Investor’s Business Daily; earlier here, here, etc.) More: Rob Port, SayAnythingBlog. Update: LaHood spokesman says Reuters overstated his boss’s position.