Let's re-educate all on driving safely

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promises to keep the problem of distracted driving, such as talking on a cell phone, at the top of his safety agenda.

I respect his tenacity.

But I'm beginning to think there's something of a shell game going on here. When is the driver distracted, and when is he/she just plain careless?

I realize that people do careless things behind the wheel. Chalk it up to human nature, I guess.

For example, as I drove on a Detroit freeway this morning, I checked my rearview mirror and saw a man driving behind me with both hands behind his head.

Was I hallucinating? I quickly glanced again.

Sure enough, he was using both hands to primp his hair while traveling at highway speed. His hair fussing seemed to go on for a good 30 seconds. Each time I periodically glanced back, his hands were off the steering wheel.

I prayed he didn't hit a patch of black ice and kill us all. I also marveled at how well aligned his steering system and wheels were.

I wonder: Is hair primping distracted driving or careless driving?

Was his carelessness distracting me?

Maybe LaHood should rethink his approach. Perhaps he could top his safety agenda by requiring that all drivers pass a driver education program every five years, or each time they buy a new or used vehicle.

The program would reinforce the rules of the road, teach driver etiquette and emphasize the danger of careless driving.

Maybe that's the first step in ending driver distractions.

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