|by Ralph F. Mariano, Editor
CELLPHONES CAN KILL!!
Where are the
"Control Freaks" when you NEED them?? Iíll
wager I know. Theyíre busy yapping on a Cellphone while
on the road; driving on the streets, highways, Freeways, and Expressways of
our Nation. Hereís a wonderful opportunity for all the
"Control Freaks" in Government to
do the right thing.
Its has become extremely dangerous driving these days watching the
plethora of fools with
Cellphones crammed to their ears with one hand while
driving along at fifty to seventy five miles per hour.
This past week, (01/05/98) I had the
"rude awakening." I was driving on I-95 in Jacksonville
southbound just past Bay Meadows Road when I spotted this
moving late model Ford Explorer drubbing along in the left lane. As car
after car was forced to pass this SOB on the right, I slowly moved
up to pass this vehicle on the right myself. Once along side this
vehicle, I peered over to see just what we were dealing with.
Friends, I was
SHOCKED! I had all to do to stop from pulling in
front of this inconsiderate clown and bringing the whole thing to
a halt! This bonehead was actually talking on his cellphone,
holding it to his ear with his shoulder and reading something
cradled in the steering wheel, holding it and the wheel with both
hands... all while moving along at
approximately forty miles per hour in the, high speed, left lane on
Interstate 95! Where the heck are the Cops when you really
While some may try saying cellphone
yapping while driving is an isolated incident; It is NOT by a
longshot! It is, by far, more the norm than most are willing to admit.
Anywhere you drive its almost a lock that within fifteen minutes
youíll come upon one or more slow moving cellphone Yappers
driving along apparently oblivious to others around them along
with the traffic problems and
dangers they are causing.
While motor vehicles are not
ordinarily considered to be weapons... in this deadly scenario
they become a projectile of five thousand pounds of steel and
glass traveling at a high rate of speed with little or no
responsible guidance. Iíve actually seen cars swerving in and out
of their lane because one of these clowns dropped the cellphone
they were bleating on while driving.
Better yet.... to watch an
individual, while driving along Jacksonville Florida's crowded San Jose Blvd.., gesturing with one hand while holding the cellphone
to an ear with
the other hand in the course of a rather animated conversation is
a real mind-blower. How is the steering wheel being controlled??
Auto-Pilot? No, a knee is pressed against the bottom of the
steering wheel by our more adept motorists.
It only takes a
split second distraction to cause a deadly vehicular accident. Knowing what
Iíve seen so far, I cringe at the thought of what the high tech
equipment manufacturers are about to release. How about a combo
cellphone, newscaster, autoPC, weather caster, Emailer and GPS (Ground Positioning Satellite Receiver) in an "all in
one" dashboard unit? This one is deadly! It has something to
distract every driver!! (On display at the Vegas CES Show)
Control Freaks, Congress
Critters, State Senators, Reps and Council Members... PLEASE enact
emergency legislation making it at least misdemeanor or greater to drive
while either talking on a Cellphone that is not totally hands free
and/or manipulating, operating, reading or viewing anything. This
should be an infraction that carries as stiff a penalty as DUI
because the results from doing so can be just as deadly.
A few weeks ago, I made
mention of the life threatening dangers posed by those fools who
insist upon yapping on a Cellphone while they are driving. Today,
while proceeding southbound on San Jose Boulevard (Kamikaze
Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL), I saw what could have easily been
the net result of these selfish inconsiderate cellphone yapping
It took almost three quarters of an hour to reach the
accident site which was just before Bay Meadows Road. I had just
passed the junction of Old Saint Augustine Road and San Jose
Boulevard. Friends, there were three automobiles involved. In my
opinion all three were totaled. One car was sitting up on the
right shoulder of the road resting on top of the privacy fence in
someoneís backyard, the rear was smashed, the front was hit so
hard the bumper and nose assembly were laying in the road some
twenty feet away from the car. Another car was literally
"T-Boned" (nailed dead center on one side between the
front and rear seats) This one was horrible looking. The third one
had no rear end and no front end, all there was to be clearly seen
was the passenger compartment.
The real shocker was obvious
out in the middle of all this vehicular carnage, there... in plain
view, laying in the road was one of those Cellphones! Now, I donít
know if it was in use at the time of the collision. Nor do I know
to what extent the occupants of the cars were injured but I do
know this much. On any given day, one need
only drive for about five minutes and its certain youíll come
across a "Cellphone Yapper." Yapping away ...completely
oblivious to the fact theyíre obstructing the free flow of
traffic and/or are so distracted as to be a deadly endangerment to
those trying to drive safely avoiding or getting around them.
Please folks; for your sake,
mine and everyone elseís make a PIA of yourself with your local
political Rep. Please ask for legislation making it a offense with points assessed
on the license for operating a motor vehicle while
using/talking on a cellphone. Who knows, the life you save may be
one of your own family members, yourself or me! Help me with this
one. It screams for immediate attention. Send a copy of this
editorial to your City Council Members... Congress Critters and
the Governor.... they'll act on it unless
of course, they too, are among the inconsiderate
and conclusive STOP must be put to the blathering on Cellphones,
reading and/or playing with gadgets while operating a moving
vehicle. Is it going to take multiple tragic deaths on the road
where its proven these acts, including the use of a Cellphone by
the vehicle operator while underway is at fault?? I hope and pray
not. Nobody should have to die to get this legislation enacted. In fact, a recent study has established that the distraction levels of cellphone use while driving approach, if not exceed, that of driving under the influence...
Officials Want States
to Report Crashes
- In an effort to track accidents caused by cell phone use,
highway officials are encouraging states to report when
crashes are caused by distracted drivers.
Under new guidelines issued Tuesday,
police are being asked to say whether the driver was
distracted and if that distraction was caused by a cell phone,
a radio, another passenger, another vehicle or something else. States are asked to collect a total of
111 pieces of information from each crash under voluntary
guidelines jointly developed by federal highway safety
agencies and the Governors Highway Safety Association, which
represents state highway officials.
Almost all states use some form of the
voluntary crash reporting guidelines, which were first issued
five years ago to help standardize crash reports so it's
easier to compare data from state to state. The data can then
be used to determine accident trends and develop laws to
reduce traffic deaths. So far, New York is the only state to
ban drivers from using cell phones, and safety officials are
debating whether there's enough data for other states to
follow. Only 16 states now collect data on cell phone usage
after a crash, GHSA executive director Barbara Harsha said.
"We really don't have any idea as to
the scope of the driver distraction problem," Harsha said.
The other major change to the
guidelines issued Tuesday is the type of crash that is
Under the 1998 guidelines, states were
encouraged to report any accident that involved an injury or a
towed vehicle. Highway safety officials found requiring states
report crashes that cause a $1,000 minimum property damage
standard would capture a wider variety of crashes
"Driving a car is a serious responsibility that
requires the attention, the full attention, of the driver."
Using a cell phone while driving is "an enormous threat to
public safety," ..New York Gov. Pataki says
call, pummel your
political reps and ask for help!
New York State did the right thing and enacted
Legislation... so can Florida and every other State. That
is, if their elected leaders really do care about their
constituents. After all, it's only about