Transportation Sec. LaHood honks at cellphone users

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has taken his concern for public safety from the world of public policy to his personal driving habits.

“What I’ve been doing is kind of honking at somebody if I see him on a cellphone,” LaHood explained Monday to WTOP about his personal crusade to end cellphone use on the road.

Yes, LaHood is that guy.

According to LaHood, cellphone use while on the road is his “biggest source of irritation” and honking during his drives around Washington is his way of taking “personal responsibility” for ending the scourge.

Nine states and D.C. have outlawed hand-held cellphone use while driving and 35 states and D.C. have banned texting while driving.

In October 2009 LaHood announced his campaign to end “distracted driving” at the end of a two-say summit on the matter in Washington.

“Keeping Americans safe is without question the federal government’s highest priority — and that includes safety on the road, as well as on mass transit and rail,” said LaHood in a statement at the time of the campaign’s unveiling.

According to the transportation secretary, “Every single time you take your eyes off the road or talk on the phone while you’re driving — even for just a few seconds — you put yourself and others in danger.”

WTOP reports that for the most recent available year, 2010, 3,092 deaths were attributed to driver distractions.

So while driving in D.C. beware, that man honking might not just be an annoyance, he could actually have the force of the federal government at his back.

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Caroline May