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".