DOT unveils 'blueprint' for eliminating distracted driving

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The National Transportation Safety Board has called for a nationwide ban on all portable electronic devices in cars other than those "used for driving tasks," like a GPS. LaHood has said he prefers to encourage states to adopt their own rules, and he said Thursday that his blueprint involves convincing the 11 states that do not have some form of texting or cellphone use ban to adopt new laws.

Other facets of LaHood's plan include testing a ticketing program in California and Delaware.  

“We know from the success of national efforts like ‘Click It or Ticket’ that combining good laws with effective enforcement and a strong public education campaign can — and does — change unsafe driving behavior,” National Highway and Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland said in a statement. “Now, along with two great state partners, we’re using this proven formula to help tackle distracted driving.”

The DOT said it will allocate $2.4 million to the program, which will beef up enforcement of existing distracted-driving laws.

LaHood's blueprint also calls for auto companies to limit the number of electronic devices they build into new cars. The auto industry has said it supports LaHood's goal by building cars with hands-free devices, but has also cited customer demand for cars with new technologies.

But LaHood said Thursday he was releasing the blueprint because it was not enough for electronics to be hands-free.

"Personal responsibility for putting down that cellphone is a good first step — but we need everyone to do their part, whether it’s helping pass strong laws, educating our youngest and most vulnerable drivers or starting their own campaign to end distracted driving,” he said.

The full DOT "Blueprint for Ending Distracting Driving" can be read here.