The new DUI: Driving while using the Internet

The Department of Transportation and the Federal Communications Commission are announcing today that they are launching a joint effort to evaluate technologies that could help combat distracted driving caused by texting, e-mailing and talking on cellphones.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski are about to testify in a joint hearing before the House Communications, Technology and the Internet and the House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection subcommittees on the distracted driving issue. The pair testified less than a week ago in the Senate, just after a bill was introduced that would give incentives to states to ban cellphone use by drivers under 18 years of age.

So far, most Members seem to agree that distracted driving is, well, less than ideal.

"Distracted driving is bad," was pretty much the entire opening statement by Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)

Rep Ed. Markey (D-Mass.) noted the new phenomenon consumers and lawmakers are now dealing with.

"DUI used to mean driving while under the influence," he said. "Now it means driving while using the Internet."