Monday, January 12, 2009

Walk And Chew Gum

Now the National Safety Council wants a nationwide ban on cell phone use while driving, to include hands-free devices. They claim talking on a phone impairs a driver equivalent to driving drunk.

Well, hey, why stop there?

Make police pull over and shut off their cruisers to use the radio. And don't even think about those distracting mobile data terminals.

While we're on radios, let's ban all radios and other auditory distractions in cars. Ever follow somebody who's jammin' to their tunes? Death on wheels looking for a place to happen, fershure. And if you allow drivers to sing along with Barry Manilow, it's just that much harder to be sure why those drivers' mouths are moving behind the wheel so they can be properly ticketed.

How about passengers? Talking to a real live person is more distracting than a phone conversation. Let's make it illegal to talk to anyone in a car. Children and pets can be restricted to riding in the trunk.

While you're at it, I'm sure lowering the speed limit to 15 mph on all streets, highways, and interstates will save lots of lives, too.

But we're going off topic here. Let's do the math:

The National Nanny Safety Council points to a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis that estimates 6% of accidents involve drivers talking on cell phones. They calculate that to mean cell phone use is theoretically involved in 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries per year.

CTIA-The Wireless Association says there are 270,000,000 cell phone users in the country, and 80% use them while driving. That equals 216,000,000 people who use cell phones while driving.
2,600 deaths divided by 216,000,000 cell-using drivers = 0.00120%

12,000 injuries divided by 216,000,000 cell-using drivers = 0.00556%
And the NSC conveniently ignores a press release from the Harvard School of Public Health that found that a driver's average risk of being killed while using a cell phone is 6.4 in a million per year. That is 80 percent less than the average risk of fatality to a driver with a blood alcohol level of .10%. The risk of a passenger, another motorist, or a pedestrian being killed by a driver using a cell phone is 1.5 in a million per year. That is 92 percent less than the annual risk of being killed by a driver with non-zero blood alcohol content.

The press release goes on to state:
"The authors urge that before government regulates cell phone use by drivers, better quantitative information on risks and benefits should be collected. They recommend immediate educational efforts to curtail multiple sources of driver distraction."
Gee, education before legislation. Learn something. Take responsibility. What a concept.

You know, you might almost get the idea the National Safety Council is taking a page from the gun-banners' playbook where they hysterically screech about all the little chilllldrunnn who are dying every day from gunshots . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After escaping two close calls from drivers apparently more concerned with their phones than where they were on the road this morning, I'm alot more inclined to buy a cell phone jammer. Screw the government, I can take care of that problem myself.