Ray LaHood Has No Idea What Constitutes a Driver Distraction


Which is more of a distraction while driving: holding a phone up to your ear, or having a stranger pull up behind/beside you and lay on the horn for no apparent reason? Most of us would say the latter. Most of us are not Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who recently told local D.C. radio station WTOP that he likes to drive around D.C. on the weekends and further distract distracted drivers: 

"I drive around on the weekends in Washington," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tells WTOP about his informal road patrols.

When he sees what he describes as "my biggest source of irritation"—somebody on a cellphone, LaHood takes action.

"What I've been doing is kind of honking at somebody if I see him on a cellphone."

LaHood says it's his way of "taking personal responsibility" to reduce driver distractions.

I could be wrong, but I doubt that honking at strangers "reduces driver distractions."

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  1. We’ve had a Treasury secretary actively making things worse, so why not this?

    Actually, this kind of personal touch should catch on. I want to see the labor secretary standing behind resume readers barking at them when they don’t hire fast enough.

    1. I’ll catch that Road Runner yet.

      Beep beep!

  2. I could be wrong, but I doubt that honking at strangers “reduces driver distractions.”

    You’re wrong. Honking at someone sitting stopped at a green left turn arrow or driving 35mph in the wide open left lane of the interstate because they are engrossed in texting/talking/surfing usually briefly removes the distraction.

    1. Indeed. How is it a distriction from driving? A distraction from texting, maybe. But honking is presumably coming from another automobile, which is presumable driving, on the same road which is presumable what you are supposed to not be distrcted from, right?

    2. fascinating. And where in the article did you read he only honked at someone engaged at those activities? My hobbies are breaking into houses and surprising people in their showers. But its ok, cause they might have slipped in the shower and require assistance.

  3. next safety improvement is scramblers tied to the ignition circuits

    1. Fibertarians are all for that sort of city-Statism.

      1. Spoof HARDER loser!

  4. Don’t know about DC but many jurisdictions have laws against blowing one’s car horn unnecessarily. I would imagine that “warning” someone that they are operating their vehicle in a legal fashion would meet this definition. Would love to see La Hood get ticketed for this BS.

    1. come on…laws exist against texting and a host of other things, but no one gets ticketed for those. You really think honking is going to yield a ticket?

      I’ll say this – if you are involved in a wreck, your cell phone records are instantly subpoenaed. Anyone found to be on the phone at the time of the accident, AND at fault for it, pays double. We already have careless driving on the books; surely texting qualifies as careless.

      1. Exactly. All forms of impaired driving should be covered under the reckless driving prohibitions. We don’t need a new law for each and every impairment…

        Hell, using LaHood’s reasoning, shouldn’t we outlaw driving while lost? Trying to figure out where you’re going is a big distraction from the physical task of driving.

        1. And we should definitely outlaw driving with kids in the car.

          1. Two adults should be required when a child is in the car.

            Cops shouldn’t be allowed to use their radio, or computer while the car is in gear.

            Billboards should be outlawed.

            Bottom line, managing distractions is a part of driving.

    2. I was envisioning that the motorists he annoys would recognize him and call in reports of a motorist harassing other motorists and including his license tag. Sure, one report they can ignore, but not scores of them.

      I’ll be the first to admit that this will probably never happen in the world in which we now live.

    3. You know, in several places that I’ve lived, honking your horn at another car is frequently regarded as an invitation to throw down.

      I invite Mr. LaHood to take his little war on distracted driving to some of the less tony neighborhoods in DC.

    4. If you were to drive in DC you would quickly realize that there is no law or that it’s not enforced. If there were and it were enforced then half the population would get tickets. It’s a DC driver’s favorite thing to do. Honk Honk!

    5. La Hood ticketed? Laws are made to control the peons of this world, not the political and financial elite.

  5. His statement makes it sound like he drives around aimlessly for the sole purpose of finding drivers on phones. What a fucking creeper. If he ever “catches” me on the phone, it’ll be because I’m calling the cops on the weird stalker who is tailgating and honking at me.

    1. 2 nanny statisms don’t make liberty.

      1. Privation Property = Statism

        Change your name to “NannyMike” to reflect your fear of wilderness, domesticated city-Statist.

        1. Okay… every link I’ve submitted lately is flagged as spam, and we noww have a 900 character limit… and yet this fuck is still here? WTF. DIAF.

          1. I think that one was parody… maybe. It’s much more fun if you think of all of his posts as parody.

  6. “kind of honking?”

  7. Doesn’t using your horn to express irritation at another driver constitute “road rage?”

    1. “using your horn to express irritation at another driver”

      I thought that was what horns are for? Am I doing it wrong?

  8. Isn’t it his kid being held hostage in Cairo? And he’s out honking at motorists?

    1. WTF?

    2. Arrested. Not so sure hostage applies. Who the hell works for an NGO in Egypt during a revolution and military rule? The son’s as smart as his dad.

    3. Get back to raping hikers, STEVE.

  9. The music in my headphones is up way too loud for LaHood’s honking to make a difference.

  10. What’s this guys view on global warming?

    1. He’s against it.

      1. He should drive around and honk at people using gasoline.

  11. My experience with honking or being honked at has been that it indicates two cars are about to occupy the same portion of space. Honking is serious business.

    1. Huh. Where I live I suppose it could be that but usually it just means “get out of my way, yo”.

      1. Where I live it means, “fuck you, asshole.”

        1. In Florida it’s a convenient way to wake up seniors who are still asleep after the light changes.

          1. And people who stop at yield signs when there is obviously no one coming.

    2. There are those (like my father) who believe the only legitimate use of the horn is to warn someone that you are about to hit them and are unable to take evisive action.

      Of course, the horn dates back to when cars travelled slowly enough that it was, in fact, possible to get out of the way. And also from a time when brakes (and othe mechanical systems) were not nearly so reliable.

      I’ve forgotten what city he was talking about but my old man used to joke about drivers there needing to have the functions of the horn button and the brake pedal reversed.

  12. Intentionally aggravating drivers in DC is like throwing fire on a hornets nest. This guy is an idiot. Sounds about right for government work.

    1. Where’s that Hummer-driving snowball cop when you need him?

      1. hang on, he just needs to wrap-up a call 1st.

  13. My biggest source of irritation are politicians, can I start hooting at them as well then ?

  14. I eagerly await The Onion story on a busybody’s decapitation after rearending a heavy duty flatbed truck while notifying other drivers of their distraction.

  15. Ray LaHood: asshole

  16. Top. Men.

  17. What’s most interesting about this story is not that LaHood goes around doing things like this. It’s that LaHood apparently thinks revealing this about himself will react with people thinking better of him for it.

    Whereas the universal response is going to be, “what an asshole.”

    1. Whereas the universal response is going to be, “what an asshole.”

      Would that I lived in that universe.

  18. His home life must be a real peach, if he’s so desperate to get out of the house on the weekends.

    1. His wife approves of this behavior.

  19. I would think trying to peer in to other vehicles to see what’s going on is distracting one’s self from his own goddamn driving.

  20. LaHood says it’s his way of “taking personal responsibility” to reduce driver distractions.

    Ray LaHood: Real American Hero.

    One Congressional Medal of Freedom, coming up.

    1. fuck a CMF, someone get this man a Nobel!

  21. LaHood breaking the law if he does this on the Maryland side of the river.

    2010 Maryland Code
    Subtitle 4 – Other Equipment
    Section 22-401 – Horns and warning devices.
    Share | ? 22-401. Horns and warning devices.

    ((b) When to be used.- The driver of a motor vehicle shall, when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation, give audible warning with his horn, but may not otherwise use the horn when on a highway.


  22. LaHood failed to mention he’s created a honking code for various distractions:

    Cellphone: long honk – long pause – long honk

    Applying Makeup: medium honk – long honk

    Eating: short honk – short honk – medium honk – long pause – short honk – short honk – medium honk

    Blowjob: multiple short honks (> 4) – really long honk

  23. Pretty amazing, wonder why I never thought of that. Wow.


  24. I’m pretty sure if you are busy looking at other people, you are a distracted driver.

    Keep you eyes on the road LaHood.

  25. LaHood says it’s his way of “taking personal responsibility” “racking up reimbursable mileage, fuckers. BOOM!”

  26. Hey, come on down to Detroit and start honking at people, Ray!

    Brutha’s Driving: *calls dealer*

    Sec’y LaHood: HOOOOONK!

    Brutha’s Driving: BANG BANG BANG BANG *back to calling dealer*

    Sec’y LaHood: beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

  27. Can’t wait until LaHood causes an accident with his pointless honking…

  28. It’s less distracting to be honked at than to have barrages of snowballs thrown at your vehicle, but Reason is A-OK when the latter happens to certain disfavored groups.

  29. Honking at least attracts your attention towards things happening external to your car’s windows.

  30. I hope the Egyptians execute his son. And now that I have your attention…

  31. That man is an idiot.

  32. LaHood is a giant bag of douche

  33. Cell phones in cars aren’t that bad. A new patent is in the works that will allow smart phones, when plugged into the car, to provide all sorts of safety features, i.e. collision avoidance, accident prediction, emergency response and more. Now we just to make sure the benefits don’t negate the safety by having people texting while driving. You can read more here, http://www.sandiegopersonalinj…..l-bad-news

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