Eye Opener: Driven to Distraction
Happy Tuesday! Back in 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided not to make public hundreds of pages of research and warnings about the use of phones by drivers -- in part, officials say, because of concerns about angering Congress.
The New York Times reports today that "the full body of research is being made public for the first time by two consumer advocacy groups, which filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the documents."
"The former head of the highway safety agency said he was urged to withhold the research to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who had warned the agency to stick to its mission of gathering safety data but not to lobby states.
"Critics say that rationale and the failure of the Transportation Department, which oversees the highway agency, to more vigorously pursue distracted driving has cost lives and allowed to blossom a culture of behind-the-wheel multitasking.
"The highway safety researchers estimated that cellphone use by drivers caused around 955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents over all in 2002.
"The research mirrors other studies about the dangers of multitasking behind the wheel. Research shows that motorists talking on a phone are four times as likely to crash as other drivers, and are as likely to cause an accident as someone with a .08 blood alcohol content.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Hillary Rodham Clinton heads to Thailand for a security conference. OPM Director John Berry praises federal employees. Robert Gates says the Army is adding 22,000 troops while the rank-and-file question him about long deployments. The First Lady sponsors a new Coast Guard cutter.
• Treasury Is Criticized Over TARP: The special inspector general overseeing the $700 billion financial-sector bailout said the department isn't disclosing enough information about how taxpayer money is being spent.
• CIA Committed Fraud, Judge Writes in Ruling: A federal judge has ruled that government officials committed fraud while defending a lawsuit brought by a former DEA agent who accused a CIA operative of illegally bugging his home.
• Ban Set on Mining Claims Adjacent to Grand Canyon: The Obama administration says it's designating nearly one million acres of Arizona land near the Grand Canyon off limits to new uranium mining claims for two years.
• Toilet Is Fixed on Space Station: A pump on the recently installed toilet in the American laboratory, Destiny, broke Sunday, contaminating part of the system. The pump’s function was to inject chemicals that helped separate liquids from solid waste.
• Bills Funnel More Money to Diplomacy: The State Department is poised to realize significantly larger percentage budget increases than the Pentagon.
• VA to Offer More Public Details on Paused Projects: The department will take its use of OMB's IT Dashboard a step further by publishing a one-page summary for every project under each of their 41 major investments.
The comments to this entry are closed.