Numbers released Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that drivers younger than 20 are the worst offenders of using electronic devices while driving, but it's a growing trend among all ages. In 2008, drivers who weren't paying attention took nearly 6,000 lives and caused half a million injuries.
"Driving while distracted should just feel wrong — just as driving without a seat belt or driving while intoxicated," LaHood said in his remarks wrapping up the conference.
In many areas of highway safety, the best countermeasure is the law. The issue with cell phones and texting is having laws that carry a consequence for the driver and are enforceable. Enforcing a ban on hands-free devices is tricky, at best.
"We're not going to break everyone of their bad habits," LaHood conceded to the crowd, "but we are going to raise awareness and sharpen the consequences."