Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN) commended House passage of her Motion to Instruct (MTI) conferees to strike a provision in the Senate-passed Highway Bill, S. 1813, that grants U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood $78 million to entice states to enact and enforce federal distracted driving laws. Following passage of her MTI, Congressman Black issued this statement:
"This is about protecting states rights under the 10th amendment of the Constitution. The federal government should not be manipulating state law through taxpayer funded distracted driving grants. As a mother, grandmother, and nurse, I strongly support absolute safety on our roadways. I also believe that the issue of distracted driving laws are best left to the states. That's why, in my home state of Tennessee, I voted 3 times for the distracted driving law on the books today.
"Taxpayer dollars are so precious and should not be used on anything other than their intended purpose. The only way to accomplish this task and allow for focused use of taxpayer dollars is to produce a multi-year transportation bill that restricts the highway fund to its intended use, building and maintaining America's roads and bridges," said Congressman Black
Black's MTI allows for a study to be conducted on distracted driving to identify the most effective methods to educate drivers and enhance states' understanding of these issues so that they can enact and tailor laws best suited to the individual needs of their states. Currently, 39 states already have distracted driving laws on their books.
"I believe that states are great laboratories for determining what works and what does not, and that is why my motion to instruct keeps intact the study to be conducted on all forms of distracted driving. This helps government and the public better understand and identify the most effective methods to educate drivers and keep the roads safe, so laws can be enacted that are best suited to the individual needs of each state," said Congressman Black.