Ray LaHood

Tuesday U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released distraction guidelines that encourage automobile manufacturers to limit the distraction risk connected to electronic devices built into their vehicles, such as communications, entertainment and navigation devices."Distracted driving is a deadly epidemic that has devastating consequences on our nation's roadways," said Secretary LaHood. "These guidelines recognize that today's drivers appreciate technology, while providing automakers with a way to balance the innovation consumers want with the safety we all need. Combined with good laws, good enforcement and good education, these guidelines can save lives.

Ray LaHood, former Republican congressman who was chosen as Transportation Secretary in Barack Obama's administration and who campaigned tirelessly against distracted driving, has tendered his resignation from the post.

According to Automotive News (subscription may be required), LaHood plans to resign as soon as a replacement is selected by Obama and confirmed by Congress.

Washington Post article on the matter made mention of LaHood's dedication to fighting distracted driving:

In 1930, former Massachusetts state senator George Parker tried to ban car radios because they were too distracting. He invoked the ire of both the Radio Manufacturers Association and motorists, who loved driving to music, even though early radios were expensive and sometimes burst into flames. After consumers protested at his office, Parker dropped the effort and decided to focus on drunken driving instead.

Drivers today are similarly attached to their cellphones and in-car technology. But unlike the drivers of the 1930s, they're conflicted over efforts to regulate them.

Back in February, we told you about some new rules -- or rather, suggestions -- that the Department of Transportation had compiled for automakers. The rules/suggestions were meant to set standards for in-car equipment that would help curb distracted driving. Our colleagues at Cnet have done a close reading of the official document and found one proposal that would render some navigation systems practically pointless.

The guidelines

When Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the document in February, they said that "the guidelines would establish specific recommended criteria

Safety regulators will not complete the details of a rule mandating rearview cameras on all passenger vehicles until the end of the year, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Congressional leaders on Tuesday.

Mr. LaHood said safety regulators had "made significant progress in developing the final rule" but will delay issuing the mandate until later this year. A 2008 law originally called on regulators to set new rear visibility standards for vehicles by Feb. 28, 2011, but Mr. LaHood already had extended the deadline several times. In January, he told Congress

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