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Should cellphones carry warnings?

Cigarette packages and booze bottles carry labels warning they may be hazardous to your health. Should cellphone boxes too?

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood suggested just that on Tuesday, tossing out the concept at a conference he convened in Washington to address the issue that is his pet passion: distracted driving.

"That's something I just thought of while I was sitting there," LaHood said when the group broke for lunch. "It's just common sense to me. I'm going to talk to the [cellphone] industry about it."

The labels would warn that using a cellphone while driving is a dangerous distraction. He announced last week that research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that distracted driving led to 5,474 highway deaths and 448,000 accidents last year. That amounts to 16 percent of the national total in 2009.

Asked whether similar warning labels should be required in all new cars, LaHood said, "I want to work with the car industry on a few other things before I get to that.

-- Ashley Halsey III

By Michael Bolden  | September 21, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  Ashley Halsey III, Driving, Transportation Politics  
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Warning labels? Really? The country is crumbling around us and they want to add more fine print to a box that nobody ever reads?

Posted by: jiji1 | September 21, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Warnings on the phone or on the box of the phone? They don't have actual warning on the booze or the cigarettes, but the boxes that contain them. I think most of the phones now have warnings in the manuals about this already.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 21, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm an attorney and I think this country has gone overboard with the warning labels. I mean, the car shades that you put in your window to keep the sun from heating up the car come with warning labels saying to remove the car shade before driving. It seems to me that anyone too stupid to know that (without need for a label) is too stupid to have a driver's license and is probably stupid enough to be eligible for commitment in a mental institution. I fail to see the point of a warning label on a cell phone. While I absolutely agree that distracted driving is a serious problem, and while I further note that handsfree devices are not the solution to the problem, I don't see the point of a warning label that nobody will read. Its only real purpose would be as a CYA thing for the phone manufacturers so that nobody can say "you didn't warn me it was dangerous" (a stupid claim in the first place).

Posted by: 1995hoo | September 22, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

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