Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood endured a new round of blog-based criticism this week after suggesting that people who use their cells phones while driving should have their ignitions disabled by an elecro-magnetic-pulse weapon, dragged out of their cars and forced to ride bicycles up and down that special lane on Pennsylvania Avenue so at least someone will use the darn thing after we spent all that money on it.
But others at the DOT have apparently talked him down.
While Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stressed personal responsibility in a recent TV appearance, the Secretary said the department was “looking into” other technological possibilities.
“I think the technology is there,” said LaHood on MSNBC, Monday. “ I think you’re going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones.”
“While NHTSA is currently researching various technologies, Secretary LaHood believes first and foremost that everyone has a personal responsibility to drive safely,” said U.S. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Olivia Alair. “The Department of Transportation currently has no plans to endorse any particular technology.”
Secretary LaHood has also been in a dispute with incoming Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio who want to reallocate federal funds for high-speed rail projects for more pressing infrastructure projects, like repairing roads and bridges.
It surprises us that no one has made the connection. The new, intrusive pat-down searches and high-tech screening devices that have caused such a fuss at airports? Isn’t it obvious? They’re intended to make air travel so unpleasant that people will ride the train instead. As The Washington Post reports today, “Instead of a TSA airport search, he’ll take the train.”