Ashley Halsey III of the Post has a very complimentary article on Ray LaHood today. It covers his career, his initiatives since become SecTran and the surprising way that he's become one of the stars of the Obama administration (who saw that coming?) His blog, for instance, gets more hits than anyone's except Obama's. The article covers his fight against distracted driving
His lasting legacy, however, may be the assault on distracted driving, and LaHood hammers on it from every angle that he and his agile staff can devise.
They've formed a MADD-like group -- Focus Driven -- persuaded Oprah Winfrey to devote an entire show and a multi-city rally to the subject, hosted a "Distracted Driving Summit," and blogged and Twittered on the subject. And they salute each state that has banned text messaging while driving.
"These are preventable deaths," he says. "We gotta do something about them."
He has also obtained restrictions on cellphone use by federal workers, banned truck drivers from texting and, after a couple of Northwest Airlines pilots flew 150 miles off course, cracked down on distracted flying.
And it covers his stated intention to stop favoring motorized traffic over biking and walking.
"This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized."
The National Association of Manufacturers fired back that the policy was "dumb . . . irresponsible" and "nonsensical for a modern industrial nation."
Unfazed by the criticism, including the suggestion from a former GOP colleague in the House that he was on drugs, LaHood climbed onto a table at a convention of cyclists to reiterate his support for treating "walking and bicycling as equals with other transportation modes."
And it notes that he's a recreational cyclist
But [LaHood and his wife] still find time for their weekend bike rides. They both wear helmets, of course, because when it comes to safety in all matters, the man's a stickler.
Photo by Marvin Joseph/the Washington Post Photo