Texting while driving is a major distraction
Certainly, LaHood and other safety officials are worried that devices, such as Ford's Sync interface, that make calling or texting easier from behind the wheel will instill a false sense of security—and a feeling that they can spend more time using their devices when on the move.
LaHood reportedly called Subaru of America COO Tom Doll and praised the brand's 30-second 'Baby Driver' ad, featuring a father telling his baby—actually a teenager—about to head out driving alone for the first time.
One of the last lines in the ad is "Call me—but not when you're driving."
While some studies have suggested that the act of physically taking one's eyes off the road is likely what's most distracting, the cognitive distraction of simply carrying on a conversation or navigating through menus is also something to be concerned about.
The Secretary of Transportation said that he's planning to meet with GM CEO David Akerson, as well as other auto executives, regarding distraction, to see if they can do more to educate consumers about the idea that cognitively, even talking or texting hands-free is still distracting.