LaHood calls for national ban on cell phones while driving

December 28, 2010

by City Room

(Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has a couple of priorities he wants the new Congress to work on when it convenes next year. Ray LaHood said getting a transportation bill passed by the August recess is at the top of his agenda. The current one has been extended for two years.

The Peoria, Illinois native and former congressman said there are a lot of unmet transportation needs across the country.

"If it were up to me, I would outlaw cell phone use while driving. I just think it's just dangerous," LaHood said. "You don't have both hands on the wheel, you don't have both eyes on the road and you can't drive carefully when you got a cell phone in your ear. You're not only distracted by the fact you don't have both hands on the wheel, you're distracted by the conversation. You lose track of what's around you while you're driving a 5,000 pound car."

LaHood said he also wants to work with lawmakers to approve a nationwide texting ban. Thirty states have already passed anti-texting legislation. LaHood said 5,500 people died last year as a result of distracted driving while more than 450,000 were injured.