MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, LaHood isn't the only one concerned about so many new high-tech distractions.
TRACY SAMILTON: Let's say you're driving and there's a kid in the back seat crying. That's distracting. If you remember "The Ed Sullivan Show," you can think of that as one plate spinning on top of a pole.
(SOUNDBITE OF CIRCUS MUSIC AND APPLAUSE)
SAMILTON: Let's say you're also late. That's another spinning plate. You're checking a map on your GPS for directions, and traffic is getting heavy: plate, plate. And if you get too many things going at once, those plates will start to fall.
PAUL GREEN: If your eyes are off the road, and your hands are off the wheel, that's a problem. And if your brain is engaged somewhere else, it makes it even worse.
SAMILTON: David Champion of Consumer Reports says this system and others like it are too distracting.
DAVID CHAMPION: Actually, Ford now, I believe are having a tutorial that they put drivers through before they buy the car, which is ridiculous, really.
SAMILTON: Unidentified Voice: Playing Song "Carve Your Name."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CARVE YOUR NAME")
SAMILTON: So it heard you wrong.
DAVE SULLIVAN: It did not recognize the words "Back Door Man," which is a Sarah McLaughlin song. Instead it's playing "Carve Your Name" by the Nadas, a small Iowa band.
SAMILTON: Adrian Lund is President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
ADRIAN LUND: People were distracted before, and they're still distracted, they're just distracted by different things, and they're crashing for slightly different reasons. More of them are cell phones, rather than changing a CD.
SAMILTON: For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton in Ann Arbor.
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