The Department of Transportation, a federal agency, has just given $275,000 each to the governments of Massachusetts and Connecticut to study drivers who text while driving.
Why don’t those two governments fund their own studies? Why does the federal government get involved? Because the feds plan to get all of the states involved in anti-texting legislation. It wants data.
But this merelu pushes the question back a step. Why does the federal government plan to pressure all states to pass such laws? Whatever happened to limits on federal power?
That is the question that high school civics textbooks ought to answer. They don’t even ask it. Federalism has become Federal Governmentism.
Here is the press release from the Department of Transportation.
“We have come a long way in our fight against distracted driving, but there is still much work to be done,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Texting behind the wheel is especially dangerous, which is why we’re working with states like Connecticut and Massachusetts to address this important safety issue.”
Today, 39 states have laws on the books that specifically ban texting and 10 states have laws that prohibit the use of handheld cell phones while driving. Despite such laws, prior demonstration programs conducted in Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, found that it is more challenging to detect a driver texting behind the wheel compared to drivers talking on a handheld device. The vast majority of tickets issued under those programs were for handheld phone use – about five percent of the citations issued across both communities were for texting violations. . . .
The demonstration grants announced today by NHTSA call for Connecticut and Massachusetts to develop anti-texting enforcement protocols and techniques such as using stationary patrols, spotters on overpasses on elevated roadways and roving patrols, to test their effectiveness in four successive waves of high-visibility enforcement activities over a 24-month period. The results of these demonstrations will be documented for the benefit of other states which are facing the same challenges.