This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.
This week in Washington, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced plans for a "distracted driving summit" in September.
Transportation and law enforcement officials, safety activists and others will discuss how to deal with drivers who do other things as they drive. Talking on the phone has long been an issue. But text-messaging while driving has gained more attention recently following a number of deadly crashes.
Right now, though, distracted driving is not the only thing Secretary LaHood has to think about.
|At a dealer in Springfield, Vermont, an old car is used as a promotion for the ''cash for clunkers'' program|
It was included as part of an unrelated defense bill passed in June. Congress provided one billion dollars for car dealers to pay for trade-ins. Qualified buyers can receive up to four thousand five hundred dollars toward a new vehicle. So far, most of the trade-ins have been trucks and the majority of new purchases have been cars.
Dealers are required to make the trade-ins unusable by destroying the engine, then recycle the old vehicles into scrap metal.
The billion dollars was supposed to last until November. But the program has been so popular, officials say most of the money is already gone. President Obama asked Congress for an additional two billion dollars which could last through Labor Day, September seventh.
Last week the House of Representatives agreed. And on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced a deal between Democrats and Republicans to clear the way for final approval.
But "cash for clunkers" has its critics. Liberals say the fuel-efficiency requirements for the replacement vehicles are not strong enough for the environment. Conservatives object to the cost, and the idea of what they say is just another bailout for the car industry.
The Transportation Department reported Wednesday that almost half of all sales were from American manufacturers. However, foreign automakers had six of the ten top selling vehicles in the program. But even so, most of their vehicles were built in the United States.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. Transcripts and podcasts are at 51voa.com. I'm Steve Ember.