WASHINGTON — The new battleground between advancing technology and highway safety emerged Tuesday when U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood scolded the auto industry for turning cars into entertainment centers.

LaHood, speaking at a conference he convened on distracted driving, said that automakers have supported bans on text messaging and hand-held cellphone use while driving.

But at the same time they have introduced other distractions.

“In recent days and weeks we’ve seen news stories about carmakers adding technology in vehicles that lets drivers update Facebook, surf the Web or do any number of other things instead of driving safely,” he said. “Features that pull drivers’ hands, eyes and attention away from the road are distractions.”

LaHood said he would meet with car companies to set new safety guidelines.

“Together, let’s put safety before entertainment,” he told the gathering of several hundred politicians, safety advocates and business leaders in Washington.

LaHood kicked off his second major conference on distracted driving with the announcement that in-state truck drivers who transport hazardous waste will be banned from sending text messages. The move closed a loophole in a year-old ban on texting by truckers and commercial bus drivers.

LaHood also launched a more concerted effort to get private employers to adopt restrictions on cellphone use by their employees. President Obama a year ago prohibited federal workers from texting while behind the wheel of government vehicles, and from using government-issued cellphones to text even while driving their own cars.