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Cellphone use while driving research | I Am So Annoyed

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Cellphone use while driving research

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009   4:52 am | Author: Bob | Education, Health/Medical, Technology |
Tags: , , ,

The other day I was driving on a two lane road at about 45 miles per hour and I noticed a driver on a cellphone in the car behind me. She was holding the phone with one hand while driving with the other. The conversation was intense as she was animated while talking. As I approached an intersection the light turned red and I slowed to stop. I took a quick look in the rear view mirror and saw that she failed to notice that I slowed down and she was still driving at 40-45 mph. In the last few seconds before hitting my car she saw that I stopped and jammed on her brakes and I saw the cell phone fly out of her hand. Meanwhile I pulled into the intersection to avoid the rear end collision. Luckily there were no other cars in the intersection.


This morning I noticed an article about that the National Highway Traffic Safety  Administration withheld hundreds of pages related to research in 2003 about the use of cell phones while driving.


The agency wanted to conduct a study of 10,000 drivers and the use of cellphones but that study was never approved. Nevertheless they already had substantial research indicating the hazardous link between cellphone use while driving.


The researchers compiled a letter in July of 2003 with their findings and recommended “that the drivers not use wireless communication devices, including text messaging systems, when driving, except in an emergency”.


Apparently Congress at the time did not want the information released. They warned the Agency not to lobby the States with the findings because of potential loss of funding to the Agency. Sounds like a form of blackmail to me.


Dr. Jeffrey Runge, the head of the Agency (reporting to the Transportation Department), wanted to send a letter to State Governors warning them about the severity of the problem and to advise that lawmakers should take this seriously when enacting laws.  But he was advised not to do so by the Transportation Department because it may annoy the House Appropriation Committee and groups that influence it. Namely voters and the cellphone industry.


Thousands have died or were injured in cellphone related accidents since 2003. How many of these accidents could have been avoided?


It is another case of government interference to scuttle information siding with corporations instead of protecting the public.


It happened with climate change research and now this. I wonder how many other things were swept under the table.

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  1. Christine Jul 21st 2009  6:21 pm

    Almost all of those accidents could have been avoided.

    At least someone is trying to do something about it. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has recently banned all of their train, bus and trolley operators from even carrying cell phones with them. If they are caught with a cell phone on their person, even if not using it, they get suspended without pay. If they are caught actually using a cell phone while on duty, they are immediately fired. The MBTA has already had to suspend and/or fire several people who did not comply with this new rule.

    The reason for this? In May 2009, a Green Line trolley operator crashed into another Green Line trolley. He didn’t see the signal because he was too busy texting his girlfriend. This resulted in millions of dollars worth of damage, and many people getting hurt, including the texting trolley operator. He is very lucky that no one got killed.

    He ended up not only getting fired, but now he is facing criminal charges and prison time. Was sending that text message REALLY worth it?

  2. Robin Jul 21st 2009  9:42 pm

    I can’t count how many times I’ve nearly been run over as a pedestrian by some idiot paying more attention to cell phone chitchat than to driving their SUV.

    And what about the double TRAIN WRECK in LA last year that maimed dozens of commuters apparently because one of the engineers was texting instead of driving!

  3. docbets Aug 23rd 2009  3:42 pm

    Moreover, cities and towns have legislated for automobiles to be outfitted with hands free capability while it was already known that hands free is no safer.

    Punked by conservatives. Again.

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