Feds Crack Down on DUI…and Cover Up DWT

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on July 27th, 2009

We all know about the federal government’s MADD-influenced "War on Drunk Driving" during recent years, forced on the states with the threat of withholding highway funds.  More recently, however, we’ve learned that driving while using a cell phone — and especially driving while texting ("DWT") — is actually more dangerous to human life.  See my post a few days ago, Inebriated or Texting: Which is More Dangerous When Driving?.  

It now turns out that the feds have been covering up these studies and statistics for years — as they ratcheted up their crack-down on DUI.  From the New York Times:

U.S. Withheld Data on Risks of Distracted Driving

New York, NY.  July 20 – In 2003, researchers at a federal agency proposed a long-term study of 10,000 drivers to assess the safety risk posed by cellphone use behind the wheel.

They sought the study based on evidence that such multitasking was a serious and growing threat on America’s roadways.

But such an ambitious study never happened. And the researchers’ agency, 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.

On Tuesday, 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…

“We’re looking at a problem that could be as bad as drunk driving, and the government has covered it up,” said Clarence Ditlow, director of the Center for Auto Safety….

Who covered it up?  According to officials interviewed by the New York Times, "the House Appropriations Committee and groups that might influence it, notably voters who multitask while driving and, to a much smaller degree, the cellphone industry".

  • Anon

    And please, let’s remember how entrenched the MADD organization is in the NHTSA. Anything that distracts from their agenda of prohibition and profit should be and was covered up by those ex-MADD members now sitting in chairs at the NHTSA. People should not forget to connect those dots.

  • damien_karras

    Ok, these blogs are great information but to what purpose? Is anybody actually willing to change the current system which is an abysmal failure? Has anyone wrote their state representatives? Has anyone signed any petitions? Are there any documentaries being made to expose the flaws and hypocrisies in this system? In N.J. there are currently 54 bills on the table for 2008-2009 that directly relate to current DWI law in the state. None of them addresses the real problem when it comes to helping the alcoholic. All the laws are more punitive in nature. I fear that with all these blogs and responses like: “Yes, you’re right! Something must be done!”, that nothing WILL get done out of sheer apathy.
    DUI is the only crime I can think of where you are presumed guilty of what MIGHT have happened. If there is a death involved or property damage, then yes, these people should be imprisoned. But otherwise, most states are woefully out of touch with the REAL underlying problem of the chronic alcoholic.