Planet Gore

LaHood: “I don’t want people talking on phones”

From the Nanny-in-Chief on down, Big Brother reigns in Washington as every department from Health and Human Services to EPA to Transportation seek ways to tighten their grip on American choice.

A day after a federal court judge in Detroit ruled that forcing Americans to buy health insurance is constitutional, transportation secretary Ray  LaHood let it be known that Detroit auto manufacturers might have to abandon in-car connectivity systems that they have spent millions developing. Nanny LaHood, reports the Automotive News, “believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls.”

Not content to enforce existing distracted-driver laws, LaHood has been building a case for a non-permissive standard where drivers must be mute, two-hands-on-the-steering-wheel autobots.

 “I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they’re driving,” LaHood said this week calling for research on hands-free systems. Hands-free phone conversations are a “cognitive distraction,” he says. And eat your broccoli!

The potential restrictions have meant the auto industry has had to arm itself with more lobbyists to make their case for in-car communications systems. Ford’s SYNC and GM’s OnStar system, with about 5.7 million subscribers, are testing applications that would let users make audio updates to their Facebook pages and have messages from the social-media site read to them while driving.

“I’m absolutely opposed to all of that,” said King LaHood.

What’s next? A ban on small children in cars? Tethers to force both hands on the wheel? No passengers in the front seat?

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