Distracted driving has been one of the Transportation Department's signature issues under Secretary Ray LaHood, and this week DOT is convening its second summit on the problem. A wide range of officials from government to industry to law enforcement are being brought together to discuss the past year's efforts, current outreach strategies and what happens next.
The public focus of distracted driving is typically handheld cell phones and texting. As laws have proliferated, that's where the emphasis has been: Forty states, plus the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, will have some sort of ban in place by January. Are there reasonable limits on such laws' scope, such as allowances for gridlock? Is there a solution for the "traditional" distractions, such as talking with passengers? Should distracted driving be a primary offense or a secondary offense -- or neither? Are there promising prevention strategies that merit wider use?