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July 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Govt. cover up research on cell phones & driving?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here's another example of government transparency. Not. Using a cell phone while driving is dangerous; but for some reason the government didn't want the American people to know about it. The New York Times reports that in 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration withheld hundreds of pages of research on the hazards of cell phone use while driving.

The former head of the agency says he was urged not to release this information so as not to upset members of Congress who wanted the agency to stick to gathering safety data... He says he was told the agency might lose billions of dollars if Congress thought they were lobbying states.

But critics say not sharing this information with the public has cost lives; and allowed people to get used to multi-tasking while driving. Some experts consider the practice as dangerous as drunken driving.

Researchers wanted to recommend that drivers not use cell phones - including text messaging - while driving, except in an emergency. They also warned that hands-free laws might not be the answer - since it's the cell phone conversation itself - not just holding the phone - that can distract drivers.

It's estimated that in 2002, cell phone use by drivers caused 955 deaths and 240,000 accidents.

Here’s my question to you: Why would the government suppress research about the danger of cell phone use while driving?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Susan from Boulder, Colorado writes:
For the same reason most information is withheld from us: special interests groups with highly paid lobbyists, who have their own agendas, promising campaign contributions to politicians who have their own agendas.

Theresa from Bozeman, Montana writes:
It's simple. This research was conducted during the Dark Ages of the Bush Administration where science was spit upon, especially if it might endanger the profits of large corporations.

Michael from Alexandria, Virginia writes:
Jack, Almost a stupid question. I can think of two reasons: they like driving while talking on their phones and because telecom lobbyists give so much money to Congress that they are afraid that they will get slammed if they say anything.

Phil writes:
I think the cell phone companies and their lobbyists probably didn't want this information released. Who would buy a cell phone if they couldn't use it in the car? After all, they used to be called "mobile phones."

Rich from New York writes:
How ironic that the Bush-Cheney Administration that eavesdropped on our cell phone conversations supposedly to save American lives probably cost American lives by suppressing important data about cell phone use while driving.

Ann from Sulphur, Louisiana writes:
Maybe it's because some members of Congress are more interested in being able to say they are dealing with a problem for their constituents after it becomes apparent, than in preventing it from becoming a problem to begin with. It's all about appearances.

Ed writes:
It is hard to understand the dangers of texting drivers while you are riding in the back of the lobbyist's limo.


Filed under: Government • The New York Times
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Oregon Wally back in Portland

    money, money, money.....Our govermwnt is sick isn't it....

    July 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  2. Melissa

    Because Bush and Cheney are insane, and their cronies weren't much better.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  3. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Gee, think Congress gets any contributions from the cell phone industry?

    July 21, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  4. Ted Beaverton, OR

    Data gathered using taxpayer funds should be accesible by the taxpayer. Period. There is too much darned secrecy in government agencies by small minded managers with big heads who think they can control the lives of others, and it's darned near impossible to fire these clowns. You know, the ones who jack up the price of a $250 wheel chair to $900...... Who suppress cell phone data and people die.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  5. Steve

    It's all about money............as usual! Our tax dollars were wasted on this research in the first place. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that talking and driving don't mix.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  6. Jim in Alabama

    Jack, if this is truly a coverup, it's disgusting. I see people every day driving while both text messaging and talking on cell phones. Occasionally, one will drift over into my lane or run off the road. It's a public health hazard. I honestly believe that a large number of people who do this are responsible for crossing over lanes on the highway and running head on into other innocent people and taking their lives. Judging from my observations, it seems that teenagers are the worst offenders while women in general make up the second highest group. They need to put up the damn phones and try and drive like responsible people. This thing has gotten out of control.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  7. Ralph

    I think you already answered that one Jack- the almighty dollar.
    Ralph- Corpus Christi, Texas

    July 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  8. Katiec Pekin, IL

    I don't know, Jack.
    Could it possibly have anything to do with big business??
    Ask the republicans!

    July 21, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  9. David from Texas

    Can you hear me now?....Can you hear me now?....Like everything else Jack. Lobbyists...

    July 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  10. Gail, Plano,Texas

    This is an easy one, Jack. So the congressmen and cell phone manufacturers can put more money in their pockets. Corruption runs rampant in both houses of Congress.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  11. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    There has to be a special interest somewhere in this issue. Who would benefit if this report were not released? Obviously, Congress thought someone would be upset if drivers were advised to stop using their cell phones while driving. Common sense leads me to the cell phone industry itself and of course its lobbying ties to Congress. What's safe about the accidents–especially the fatal ones caused by cell phone use? Not a thing, of course. And there's the absurdity of the whole thing.

    July 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  12. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Five years ago I was hit by an SUV while the driver was on the phone, I looked in as I was bouncing off the hood. Fortunately, it was in a parking lot and ended up with ONLY a broken shoulder. Yes cell phones are dangerous, but political contributions alway trumps the publics welfare.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  13. Tony from Torrington

    Do we really need the government to tell us it is unsafe to be distracted while driving? Why didn't the government tell us about research on the danger of driving while putting on makeup, or brushing our hair, or shaving or brushing our teeth, or reading maps or newspapers..... do we REALLY need to be told by the government to watch the damn road?

    July 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  14. perry jones

    greed and more greed
    perry jones council bluffs ia

    July 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  15. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    If the our Government didn't cover up the perilous use of cell phones people across the country would stop buying and useing them over time. When you add up all that money that could be lost in taxes and fines it will show up in the Government's cost benefit analyst they do on weather to continue a policy or not and it will show the Government revenues deeper in the red, then hiding the research about cell phone use would equal...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  16. Mike from Denver

    They wanted time to buy stock in companies that make the hands-free kits and headsets. You know, they need to have enough lead time to avoid insider knowledge accusations.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  17. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    I have no idea why government would want to suppress such research, other than not wanting to be unpopular with an ever-growing throng of people who use cell phones while driving. My question to you is, are people who use cell phones, totally brainless? Is it just not within their thinking process to see that talking/texting on a cell phone can ultimately be deadly? Scary!

    July 21, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  18. Geri - Mead, Ok

    I have never even turned my cell phone on much less talked on it while driving. The curious thing I notice about drivers is that they begin talking on their cell phone when they leave a parked position and don't use it while they are parked. What is that all about?

    Years ago they did a study in Utah about people driving faster than the speed limit. The people they surveyed stated they never go faster than the speed they believe they can handle. I think it's the same with cell phones, putting on makeup, or reading a newspaper when a person drives, people (including the 955 people who died & the 240,000 people who had accidents in your statistics) believed they could act irresponsibly while driving and do no harm. We always think we are smarter and better than we actually are.

    Geri – Mead, OK

    July 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  19. cy gardner

    The Bush administration hated science, truth and governing. When the whole world was trying to deal with global warming, Ari Fleischer told reporters that the Bush administration would do nothing to encourage SUV drivers to change their behavior. Their biggest priority was funneling money to corporations and rich contributors. Public safety was not something they cared about. If you don't believe me, google "Hurricane Katrina". cy arlington, va

    July 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  20. BILL, WI

    Contributions from the telecommunictions industry.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  21. Paulette,Dallas,PA

    Quite frankly Jack,Congress doesn't care about loss of lives. They care about cell phone makers and carriers making money and not also bottoming out in this economy. They mummed up the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to keep the cell phone companies alive and flourishing. They sold lives for the economic stability of these companies and most likelt their own private investments.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  22. JC in Georgia

    Perhaps they would withhold such information because the government has around forty trillion dollars of unfunded obligation in the form of social security etc. If they can kill off herds of us on the road then government doesn't have to make good. Otherwise, unless there's lobbying money coercing this kind of activity, I can't think of a good reason for this information to be suppressed.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  23. Peter

    I strongly disagree that talking on a cel phone creates any more distraction than changing a radio station or CD or even talking to one of your passengers in the car. Thousands of people read books put on make-up drink while they drive. Talking on cel phones are not the problem Texting is another story.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  24. Harvey Miller

    Jack,
    Once officials get used to covering things up, it's much easier to cover everything up rather to think and make judgements. They weren't put in place to think...they were put in place because the made the necessary contributions.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  25. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    Maybe because the study was faulty? In that same year 17,419 people died due to a drunk driver. So either 18 times as many people are driving drunk as there are people talking on cell phones while driving, or the comparison is without base.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  26. Gigi

    I can tell you this, they are making money some way. Someone is paying big bucks for Congress not to think of the American people first. Will we ever be an ethical country? I think we are so blind sided that we can't see what is going on right in front of our faces.

    Oregon

    July 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  27. Remo....Beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Jack,
    This is the governement thinking for our best interest! Maybe if we limited all elected officals to one term, we could avoid this mess. Career politicains sicken me. I don't trust either party to do the right thing. I watched it happen under Bush, and with Obama I see less and less hope.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  28. cy gardner

    People who yak yak yak while driving are selfish, inconsiderate and stupid. The Bush administration undoubtedly recognized kindred spirits when they saw them. cy arlington, va

    July 21, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  29. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    I disagree that hands-free devices are just as dangerous as hand held phones. If the conversation itself is what is distracting, then we had better outlaw talking to any passengers in the vehicle. I hope the safety crusaders who read that last sentence understand it was a joke.

    What causes accidents, is people taking their eyes off of the road. Or in the case of drunk drivers, not being able to focus their eyes on the road. We do not need drunk driving laws either. We already have wreckless endangerment laws. Safety laws like this always start out as a nobel cause. Someone suffers a tragedy, and seek to eliminate the possibility of it happening to anyone else.

    But once these laws are in the hands of politicians, they become nothing more than a revenue stream. Innocent people begin to be persecuted. I have two friends who were sleeping it off in the bar parking lot, because they knew they were too drunk to drive. They were still charged with DUI even though they were not driving, and the government fleeced them for thousands of dollars.

    Do you want to know why drunk drivers can rack up 10 offenses and remain free? It is because alcohol is the drug of choice for politicians, and they do not want to go to prison.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  30. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    It's easier to track cell phone conversations than land lines.
    Just think of all that extra intel our gov't agencies can collect in the war on crime,not to mention all the illegal activity that will be imposed upon the American citizens.
    Think about it. Safer roads or an ocean of intel. If you were them what would you pick.

    I routinely get pushed around on the road on my motorcycle by someone talking on a cell phone. Beware someone having a argument on the cell phone while driving. They are easy to spot. Thats why bikers keep nuts and bolts in thier pockets.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  31. Theresa in Bozeman, MT

    It's simple. This research was conducted during the Dark Ages of the Bush Administration where science was spit upon especially if it might endanger the profits of large corporations.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  32. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    Its all about money, if you cant use your cell phone while driving to either text or make a call then the carrier doesnt make money and the end result is the already crippled economy will take another blow.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  33. john ..... marlton, nj

    That was when Verizon and some other phone companies were giving out personal phone records to the gov't under the guise of homeland security. Remember, then a bill had to be passed to give inmunity to the companies for violating the privacy rights of Americans. .... tit for tat ... phone companies gave out personal records .... gov't keep crash data hush .. hush ..

    July 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  34. ed in rhode island

    Jack;
    You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize why this information never became public knowledge. The "Cell-phone industries lobbyists!" This is a multi-billion dollar world-wide industry that spends money to block attacks against their profits.
    Fasten your seatbelt and wait for the day when we realize that these cell-phones create brain tumors! "That problem ,in -the- press ,will cost a lot more money; but, on the bright side, it will put an end to the SUV generation.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  35. David in Natchez,MS

    I am confused, useing a cell phone is dangerous and not useing a cell phone is dangerous. Driving is dangerous, who funds these studies?

    July 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  36. Steven Bradley

    Jack,
    I've long thought that the advent of the cell phone, among other things, was to pacify drivers while traffic congestion got steadily worse. Lights are ofter poorly timed, if at all, and additional access ramps onto interstates (particularly where bridges already exist) are badly needed. The energy bill should put more emphasis on the smooth flow of traffic, not punishing people who are caught up in it.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  37. Jay in Texas

    The reason that the facts about the dangers of cell phone use while driving were kept secret is most likely because the super-rich cell phone companies contribute a lot of money to elect and re-elect their Democrats and Repubublicans to Congress. In other words, these huge corporations buy the candidates even before they are elected to Congress. So we are being governed not in the best interests of Americans but by giant corporations.
    Brownwood, Texas

    July 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  38. Nancy, Grand Ledge,MI

    1) They talk while they're driving.
    2) They get a lot of money from phone companies.
    I think the second most likely the culprit.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  39. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: The answer is quite simple, "When money talks, the truth remains hidden."

    July 21, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  40. Bob - Rawson Argentina

    I would strongly suspect that the reason the government did not want this info released was because it somehow benefited them. Plus . . . it might affect our usage and there by lower purchases, manufacturing and . . . . taxes.

    It always comes down to $$$ and "what's in it for me?"

    Bob

    July 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  41. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    Maybe it's because some members of Congress are more interested in being able to say they are dealing with a problem for their constituents after it becomes apparent than in preventing it from becoming a problem to begin with. It's all about appearances.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  42. Jasmine in Germany

    Oh gosh, Jack, you got me on that one. The only thing I can think of is that GM was planning on giving away a phone with the purchase of a gas guzzling car, this pleased the oil buddies in the White House, who in turn organized a kickback deal with the provider.

    You don't have to research the dangers of phoning while operating a motor vehicle, it is a distraction period. It has been illegal in most countries in the E. U. since modern network technology second generation digital was introduced by Finland in 1991.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  43. Rich Klein - New York, NY

    How ironic that the Bush-Cheney Administration that eavesdropped on our cellphone conversations supposedly to save American lives probably cost American lives by suppressing important data about cell phone use while driving.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  44. Lucy, Austin, Texas

    Why would the government suppress research about the danger of cell phone while driving? This is an example of what was taking place with the Republicans gaining control of government and the judicial system. Corporations, oil companies, and lobbyists good and let the whiners (Phil Gramm's words) and our entire planet (global warming) just get over.

    I am still waiting for an apology from the Republicans after they drove America over the cliff by supporting corporate greed by changing laws that allowed default credit swaps and ecological diasters that have devasted our communities. The Republicans are still trying to blame everyone else. It is time for all Americans to pull together are make sure that everyone should get at least a taste "pie". If you greatly increased your wealth during the Bush years, it was an unfair playing ground. Now corporations, Republicans and the rich should be supporting healthcare, affordable housing, and education...not trying to justify those undeserving CEO bonuses and pollutants that destroy our environment.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  45. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The bush administration aided and abetted the tobacco industry's poisoning of America to the toll of over 400,000 killed each year. Business was God. The paltry number of lives that cell phones killed each year was a small sacrifice on the alter of God.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  46. Alex in Seattle

    Yet another Bush coverup of scientific data! I wonder what his gut or his god told him to do. I would bet that cell phone provider contributions might have influenced the decision. Another case of Bush lied and people died!

    July 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  47. Allison Sloan

    I have no idea, but it is clear that talking on the cell while driving impairs the driver. I cannot tell you the number of times a person talking on the cell has nearly crashed into me , through red lights, stop signs etc. It's only because I drive so defensively that I am still alive.
    The arguement has been made that it's no different than talking to a passenger in the car. Yes it is! The passenger can say "red light'! , or "watch out'!
    Lawmakers in my province are considering banning the use of cell phones while driving. Amen to that;it can't happen soon enough!

    July 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  48. chris

    i will admit this one confuses me but first govt has no business tellign us american s what to do they passed these laws while talkign on cell phones cause of fines they collect and while we are at what about all the other stuff people do like apply makeup, drinking hot coffee while driving gee what if they spill hot coffee they swirve and get involved in a crash and putting cd's changing the radio see jack there so so much other things people do while driving

    July 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  49. Greg, Ontario

    My god Jack have Americans totally lost the ability to think? Do you really need the government to tell you it's dangerous? Maybe the government gave you the benefit of the doubt that you would have the common sense of a walnut when it came to something like that . Gee...you better warn people Jack, they may not know it's dangerous to point a loaded gun at the roof of their mouth.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  50. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    Jack, almost a stupid question. I can think of two reasons: they like driving while talking on their phones and because telecom lobbyists give so much money to Congress that they are afraid that they will get slammed if they say anything.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  51. Frank from Peterborough

    The answer is simple. Lobbyists. The cell phone industry has lobbyists and the members put lobby money ahead of anything else regardless of what benefit it may have for the country and/or it's citizens.

    July 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  52. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    I wonder how many hold stock in these companies?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  53. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    Jack, Just follow the money.
    We would like congress to be fair and honest but they continue to prove otherwise.
    We might also look at the communication companies and who gets their contributions.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  54. Ryan, Galesburg, IL

    Perhaps not to upset the companies that were helping them to illegally spy on us?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  55. Stacy St.Augustine, FL

    How do you explain anything the government did in the last eight years.
    Typing on these little cell phones is hard. Oops missed that red light.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  56. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Maybe for the same reason the car industry didn’t pursue more gas efficient cars. They were being paid not to. Most folks with common sense will not drive gas-guzzlers or use a cell while driving. Whatever the reason, the government dropped the ball on this issue as any distraction behind the wheel is an accident looking for a place to happen.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  57. Ron from SF

    The government under Republican Control was all about business and to heck with the Public Welfare. It unfortunately won't be the last example of government suppression of facts, that directly lead to deaths over the last 8 years As this shows, that ideology cost lives and Thank God they are in the minority now, or we wouldn’t even have learned about these deaths. Reports like this should send them the way of the Whigs.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  58. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    "... the agency might lose billions of dollars "
    My city, Albuquerque, has banned and ticketed drivers that use the cellphone while driving for years. It's a no brainer, if only because so many people have ended up with their brains splattered over our roads as a consequence of talking on the phone while driving. I should add that the dangers include handsfree devices. But, there is no rational reason to suppress information about the dangers of cellphone use on the road. It's craziness.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  59. Art in WV

    Money talks, nobody walks!

    Art in West Virginia

    July 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  60. Earl

    Pretty clear the governments satisfaction is more important than a little under 1000 human lives.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  61. denis

    the conversation itself is the problem.

    Thank heavens! Can I get my wifet to stop talking to me and giving me directions?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  62. Annie, Atlanta

    Simple, our illustrious congress people actually take an oath to big corporations first (or shall we say their money), of which the cell phone industry is a big part. They won’t do anything to hurt their cash flow, to the detriment of the people they pretend to represent.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  63. Kevin F

    Jack, you should know this. It is a form of silent population control. How else are we going to keep the population down now that everyone is going to have health care?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  64. Robert Schlicht

    Many electronics stores advertise hands-free devices to get around the no-cell-phone-while-driving laws, and some of these stores even include maps to show where no-cell-phone laws are being passed. I think it's completely ridiculous because trying to listen to people talking is the problem, not trying to hold the phone. Otherwise, the invention of the bluetooth hands-free headset would have stopped accidents altogether.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  65. ELISA WILLIAMS

    Jack, Could it be a Dick Cheney Thing? You know how he ran the country, I'm sure he ran the phones also!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  66. Deborah

    Doesn't the Patriot Act allow the government to track people using cell phone technology? Not only would they want to retain their billions in "research" funding, but being able to find us while we're travelling is grist for the black ops mill.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  67. Mike in Colorado

    Jack, The republicans were in charge. Who do you think was more important, the cell phone industry or people.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  68. mohammad

    It's easy why they would hide the results. It is probably because the results weren't all that bad, and they didn't want the results turn into an encouragement

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  69. V Kittie, San Diego, CA

    That one is easy. Releasing the data could have impacted the telecommunications industry. It was booming then a darling of wall street and phone sales would have been impacted. Follow the money!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  70. Alan

    The answer to your question is easy. As my Canadian friends have said, the U.S. is a country that just doesn't care about it's people. It cares more about Cell Phone companies making money than saving anyone's life. Don't we see that in our Healthcare System, which we are told is so wonderful by the Republican?????????

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  71. Mikey

    Well...since it happened in the early 2000s, that's when the Bush administration wanted to listen to our conversations...

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  72. debra

    Jack the government probably gets kick backs from cell phone companies not to release info like this

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  73. Michael from New York

    Because the government does nothing for the American people, being in the government is about getting re-elected. Constantly. It's all about job security. Anything that threatens that job security is swept aside or ignored. So what if a couple americans die because of this, when these politicians kept their votes in the next election.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  74. Mark in Arkansas

    Read your cell phone bill... Taxes. But I doubt it's that. After all, Congress doesn't have a clue about the "income" side of the ledger.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  75. Jon Gill,philadelphia

    It's called being in the pocket of an industry. Congresspeople get money from the big telecom(cell-phone) companies. Why wouldn't they lobbly to have negative info about the products suppressed.
    Having come so close so many times to being killed by idiots on cellphones I see no logic in this. There are, after all, more of us voters then there are lobbies for the cellphone companies.
    Bottom line, cellphone use, except for an emergency, should be banned while driving, period.
    I have been working in my own state for several years to get this going, of course with only limited success.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  76. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    Everything that is wrong in Washington ,has to do with MONEY,LOBBIST IS OUT OF HAND, It is getting worst till we get rid of corruption, it will remain that way.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  77. dohiermeier

    Maybe they did not want to be picked up themselves, as they are most likely always on their cellphones while driving.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  78. Keith

    Because Big Brother wanted to listen in!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  79. currentcomment.com

    ...justification for insurance rate increases for at fault accidents (pretty much the only kind that occur as a result of being distracted) and increases in litigation and legislation (the beneficiaries being lawyers and lobbyists... keep the accidents coming (sarcastic)....

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  80. Chuck Sutnick

    There is no doubt that drivers' attention on the road is diluted by dialing and texting. But what the cops you always see entering and retrieving info from the lap tops mounted in their car? Hypocrisy.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  81. Scott Stodden

    Jack Im not sure I understand the question but all I want to say is that there should be a ban on cell phone use while driving. To drive and talk on the cell phone or text message while driving is beyond dangerous, what if someone we're to kill a family with kids all because they were texting someone about something that is more than likely stupid. I beleive there should be a nation wide ban on cell phone while driving from state to state.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,IL)

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  82. Marietta

    because congress is owned an bought by lobbyist?...you said big business would lose $$$$$ billions of dollars if people did not talk on their phones while driving and again did not want congress to know this way congress excuse back we did not know?.....Study that knew the facts, deaths and truth about the dangers of driving while talking on the phone..simple just like health care ...do different..all about profits $$$$$$$$

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  83. jakeandkrystal

    the government done this because of MONEY$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!! what else are they lying to us about??!!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  84. John, Franklin Boro, NJ

    Easy answer: This information was damaging to phone companies that were working with the government to spy on us all, illegally. Why would elected officials want to stab them in the back, risking retaliation in the form of these companies refusing to make the surveillance possible? One hand washes the other.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  85. Phil Margot

    I think the cell phone companies and their lobbyists probably didn't want this information released. Who would buy a cell phone if they couldn't use it in the car? After all, they used to be called "mobile phones".

    July 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  86. Patricia

    Jack: While the government should not have "covered up" this research, I also don't want them telling me I can't use my cell phone when driving. If you get into an accident using a cell phone, make the one at fault pay all costs or whatever, but I'm tired of government telling me what I can and can't do all the time. Next it will be don't drink that coffee while you're driving because you could spill it in your lap...don't drive with the windows down because a bee could fly in and make you drive erratically, and on and on and on.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  87. Jason from Canton, PA

    This was an easy question. The most powerful people in D.C. had their way, the lobbyists. Wireless companies might have lost a dollar or two because of mud in the face and politicians wouldn't get as much in the way of campaign contributions.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  88. Karl from SF, CA

    Hmm... 2002, Bush and Cheney, lying into wars, secret covert programs, telecom companies spying on us. Did I miss anything?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  89. Napoleon

    Its easy to see that accidents are great business. From the autobody shops, to car dealers, to ambulances and lifelights, to hospitals and unfortunately sometimes funeral homes. All just a few of the industries that beenefit from car accidents; not to mention the long-term rehab required by many and all the law suits to follow. It's easy to see, if all of a sudden someone made the "smart highway" that drives you car (concept was created in the 80's) there would be a large hit in the economy. A good economy is when lots of money exchanges hands, and nothing makes money exchang ehands like a good car accident!!!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  90. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Well, it happened in 2003 etc,
    Could it possibly have been because big business was involved??
    Hmmm
    Why don't you ask the republicans.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  91. Captain Obvious

    Because you don't need to be Captain Obvious to know that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. This isn't exactly break through government research...

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  92. Stephanie

    America has always had a romance with the car and legislators are probably afraid of doing anything that would 'interfere' with Americans and their cars. We've seen recently just how much the government will bend over backwards for the auto industry.

    As a regular biker (who does follow traffic laws) I have probably 2 or 3 people a month nearly hit me because they're talking on their cell phone.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  93. Shirley Bunting

    Lobbyist, lobbyist, lobbiest.

    Shirl from Myrtle Beach,SC

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  94. Claire, Melbourne, FL

    Hi Jack,

    One simple explanation – DUH – it was the Bush – Cheney administration....finally after 7 years it's being reported. What else have they hidden that Pres. Obama hasn't found out about yet?!?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  95. Michael in St Louis

    Special Interest ! Money takes it place in front of life.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  96. charles rankin

    Money is the answer. To much money to put in certain person pocket, Den. and Rep.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  97. Brian Rosen

    Jack, Money, money, money. Tobacco is out, so communications companies filled the gap in there coffers. They're running out of options with the auto, fast food, and healthcare industries under scrutiny. Look out Jenny Craig, your next.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  98. dohiermeier,n.y.

    they probably use their cell phones all the time while driving, don't want to suppress their thoughts.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  99. Ed

    Here is how to REALLY stop cell phone usage while driving.
    1st offense- $5000 fine
    2nd offense- you lose your license.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  100. stone

    why would government suppress research about the danger of cell phone use while driving? because cell phones are like GPS tracking devices. the government wants you to be on your cell phone while driving so they can track your every move

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  101. Daniel, Woodbridge, New Jersey

    As for the specifics, who knows? But I can surely guarantee you that they're covering it up for the same reason as they do anything else: It is not within their best interest to release this information to the public.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  102. governmentdrainedlife

    I am from Canada (Hey John) and I am still wondering why everyone is so supprised to see the government covering issues up. They do it in Canada, USA, Iran... When they show tranprency now thats something to comment on.

    Keep up the good work Canada loves ya!!

    Brian

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  103. Michael

    Jack,
    Got a question for you How can the congress make a law for us, When all the policemen and women I pass Are on a cell phone thmeselves. Now come on if it's good euogh for the goose isn't it good euogh for the gander????????

    Michael

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  104. Dennis Jaques

    Jack, Once again Congress proves who they are really working for. Can anyone say "lobbyists" and "corporate interests above their constituents"; in exchange for money for reelection campaigns? And, oh yes, GREED....GREED....GREED.

    What ever happened to Mr. Obama's campaign promises for government transparency and reducing lobbyist's power?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  105. Elda

    Hi Jack,
    I live in Arizona. The State Legislature was going to pass the law regarding banning talking on cell phones while driving and they turned it down. They didn't have the "gumption". They did pass a law, allowing guns in bars and banned sparklers for fireworks. Could you believe it?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  106. KC in Los Angeles

    It's just like everything else they argue about Jack, it's all about politics. Politicians don't care about the American people, they do things to make themselves look good while not rocking the boat. Taking a stand means taking a risk, and politicians don't do things that they perceive as risky.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  107. vern-anaheim,ca

    someone is getting paid off,it's all for money.driving using a cell phone is dangerous and stats prove it.the stats given for deaths and accidents caused were for 2002,i wonder what the figures are for the latest reporting period

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  108. Linda

    Come on Jack!!! Billions in cell phone minutes? Lobbyists. They sell our lives to lobbyists, the equity of our country to China for loans, yet pay billions for individuals and all their needs that are not even citizens of this country. This is sickening politics and politicians doing business as usual.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  109. Stan

    Dumb question Jack, it is still the same old song with the politicians. They continue to sell the best interest of the taxpayer to the lobbyist.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  110. Linda in Bisbee Arizona

    BECAUSE OF LOBBYING BY THE CELL PHONE AND WIRELESS INDUSTRIES ON OUR CORRUPT SLIMEBAG MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, DUH.

    This is just great. Most drivers are too stupid to drive and chew gum at the same time, much less text message. It's insane. I thought most states already had laws against using cell phones while driving. I guess I was wrong. What a shameful dereliction of their duty to inform us by the NHTSA

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  111. Dean H. - San Francisco

    Please – like this is a surprise? They covered up faulty intelligence for the Iraq war, they covered up illegal wiretapping, they covered up harsh interrogation techniques, they covered up scientific data about the environment. My guess is that it was just second nature at the point they covered this up. It probably had a cool patriotic sounding cover name too – "Keep the Eagle Flying" or something to that effect. I'm not at all surprised when I hear of a new cover-up these days. Last week it was an assassination squad, this week cell phones, next week it will be something new.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  112. DB

    Well, we all know how much we pay in this tax and that kind of tax to the government in reference to our cell phone bills and the government didn't want to lose on this 'added' revenue with advent the cell phone boom!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  113. laura

    I can't believe people need a study to tell them that talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  114. Ed

    It had to understand the dangers of texting drivers while you are riding in the back of the lobbyist's limo.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  115. kiki

    what do you expect jack? the so called congress get their free network service from government employee benefit from at&t and sprint. Go figure!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  116. Lagreta

    Jack, this is an easy answer to why the government would suppress this information........money, money, money.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  117. david

    I have one question...how is talking hands-free on a cell phone while driving any different from talking to your spouse in the passenger seat or talking to someone in the back seat? Burnsville, MN

    July 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  118. Jim from Chicago

    I don't know, Jack, but if I were a betting man, I would bet Cheney is behind it somehow.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  119. Andy

    Let's see, a government agency ordered to suppress information which could be harmful to the profits of powerful groups like the wireless carriers and cell phone manufacturers in spite of the fact that the use of their products while driving cost hundreds of lives. Sounds like business as usual for the Bush administration.
    Hopefully Obama can fix this mess along with all of the rest that he inherited.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  120. johnnie

    I believe that there are several reasons why the information was not released.
    1) Somehow its always about the money....follow the money
    2) Its a valuable tool for tracking individuals, especially those beleived to be on a watch list by the gov. Happened during Bush Admin.
    3) this may be far fetched but its could be another form of population control.
    4) There just not done with their experiments yet...(gov, cell phone companys...etc.

    I am quite sure its about money. But now its also about trust. Trust that has time and time again been broken by those elected to lead us.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  121. Joe Mercado from Fl

    Using Cell phones while driving should be in my opinion, absolutely
    forbidden. I have in many instances, on a busy highway seen cars holding an entire line of cars, because the guy on front is talking on his
    cell phone, reducing his car speed, less than 40 miles per hour, which
    is very dangerous.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  122. Trevor

    I and other Americans don't need another government study to let me know that driving and talking on a cell phone is dangerous! I highly doubt that withholding this study cost people their lives. People know the dangers and will continue to do "stupid" things regardless of some beaucratic government study!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  123. bhaskar

    Jack

    it is simple. the cell phone lobby is as powerful as any other lobby and have successfully lined the coffers of politicians on both sides. no wonder common sense rarely prevails over self interest in washington. this will only get worse as people can now twitter, Face Book, IM, Text, Poke, email, chat, watch video, check weather, buy stuff, play games, listen to music, surf the net, access +50000 more apps all while eating a burger, drinking a coke and oh by the way driving. we are addicted to this stuff. go figure.

    bhaskar

    July 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  124. Richard, Ohio

    Jack,

    This information is being supressed because the lobbist have most of our representitives in there pocket! Communications, Finance, Health Care, Guns, Education you name the lobbist have bought undue influence.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  125. DB

    Well, we all know how much we pay in this tax and that kind of tax to the government in reference to our cell phone bills and the government didn’t want to lose on this ‘added’ revenue with the advent of the cell phone boom!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  126. Brad in Memphis, TN

    It's yet another example of Republican ethos. Withhold information so that it doesn't interfere with things that are a danger to us but make them money or bring them power. And it doesn't matter if it's a cellphone demolition derby, warrantless wiretapping or a false war.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  127. speedypete

    What's the difference between using the cell phone while driving and having a conversion with someone in the car? Isn't this the same thing? As a matter of fact there are even more dangerous behaviors and habits that occur regularly while people drive. I think this matter is very subjective and if your going to point the finger, you need to examine the driving habits of American on the whole. Not to say that cell phones and texting are part of the problem.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  128. Captain Obvious

    Because you don’t need to be Captain Obvious to know that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. This isn’t exactly break through government research.

    ....And we thought the Bridge-to-Nowhere was a prime example of useless government spending.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  129. Aaron

    No matter who you are, if you have a cell phone and a car, you are probably guilty of DWT (driving while talking). Politicians don't want to upset constituents, assuming that most people are not going to give up their cell phones in their cars.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  130. Barbie from Hollywood, CA

    Many reasons, Jack. Cell phone sales were boosting the economy, fiber optics were being upgraded; cell phone related accidents created work for attorneys, claims adjusters, and states requiring insurance to register cars were stimulating insurance sales and more branch offices.

    We're all just "collateral damage", Jack, when it comes down to the bottom line... MONEY and STIMULATING the American economy. That's the REAL reason birth control/abortion is frowned upon–the more of us born, the more there will be to make up for the collateral damage, buy the goods, go to war, and pay the taxes.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  131. Eric Ostrander

    Probably... I mean I'm not fully convinced, but It REALLY wouldn't surprise me. Bush's eight years, but especially those last four, taught me a lot about the GOP and where the get their power! If anything happened in Washington, it was ONLY with the expressed consent of corporate and special interest lobbies... They don't need to say! We already know it!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  132. John Rodrigues

    Well, coming from a "socialist" Country like Brazil that already imposed the" will" of the government over the cell phone companies by prohibiting cell phone use while driving. I have an answer:
    Cell phone companies and their army of lobbyists, image how much money they would lose if people don't talk or text while driving?
    But image how much money could we safe in health care if all those accidents related to cell phone use could be avoided ?
    John Rodrigues, Chattanooga TN.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  133. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    I bet they got lots of campaign donations from the cell phone companies and listened to their lobbyists.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  134. Christopher Smith

    The government was going to spend money on the dangers of cell phone use while driving but they lost that part of the money investing in Bernie Madoff.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  135. Dan - Eustis, florida

    Why would anybody be surprised that Congress would with hold a
    report on cell phone usage in cars. When was the last time Congress
    did what was right for the Country and not the usual self-serving drivel
    they usually pass. You want a solution, iniate a draft of registered
    voters to serve one four year term in the House and in the Senate. Every
    eligible voter would be issued a draft number and every four years a
    complete turn over would occur. This would eliminate the mens room
    peekers, wife cheaters, page perverts and all the worthless do nothings
    that currently are taking up space. Its supposed to be we the people. Not
    a pack of do nothing windbags. This would cripple the lobbyists.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  136. Andrew

    Frankly, Jack, such research is not a rational use of the government's time. It's patently absurd that the government prosecutes its citizens for doing things that, in themselves, do harm to nobody. Sure, cell phone use can increase the chance of getting into a car accident, but why charge the individual with the cause of the crime rather than the crime itself? Is hitting somebody with your car while on your cell phone somehow worse than hitting someone merely due to negligence? People can be idiots in an innumerable amount of ways – should the government make every single possibility a crime? We also seem to forget how many people our government kills in other countries every day due to their own set of idiotic decisions. I don't know about you, Jack, but I'm much more afraid of a government that chooses to legislate on such matters, than a dumb soccer mom driving while talking to her husband on the phone.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  137. Martha

    I don't know how many more people need to die on the roads before lobbyists and special interest groups realize the harm they are causing their constituants by not providing awareness of this danger.
    Maybe this is the nitch the car companies need to pick up and start manufacturing cars with phone service as an option, where you can answer the phone via a radio transmission. I'm sure they can come up with something better than a handheld device.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  138. Joan Gilbert-Croteau

    Jack,

    I live in the State of Maine where drivers using cell phones have almost hit me. Real scarey, to say the least. While being a passenger on a motorcycle, I've seen it all from drivers using cell phones, and other gagets and even reading road maps and newspapers while cutting you off at intersections, passing with one hand on the wheel, and pulling in and out of traffic from blind driveways. Those drivers seem to think they have the freedom to endanger anyone who seems to be in their way.

    I've also seen workers driving state vehicles busy talking on cell phones while weaving in and out of traffic.

    Our government doesn't press passing a law against using cell phones or any other gadgets while driving because they are just as guilty as those who are causing a danger to other drivers.Joann from Maine

    July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  139. S.Staten DC

    From Washington DC
    Because the lobbyist have been slowly packing there bags. I feel this is only ONE of the tips of icebergs of things that has not been safe for Americans.
    Congress and the Senate is on front street and all eyes are on them.
    They can't take the money anymore, So they might as well do the right thing now.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  140. Ed

    it is hard to understand the dangers of texting drivers while you are riding in the back of the lobbyist's limo.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  141. enny, Dallas,TX

    Do you really think they care about everyday people's life? Guess what jack! Junior is breaking the rules too.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  142. Adam Thousand Oaks, CA

    It's always about money. Who profits the most by surpessing the info? The cellphone makers' lobby and politicians receiving the bribes...oops, I mean campaign contributions.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  143. Dick Swenson

    Wow! CNN has finally recognized what has been public knowledge for many years – the conversation is the problem! This was known by many researchers and is public knowledge. That's what Google is for.

    The descriptive idea is "cognitive capture." IT IS WHAT MAKES US ALL HATE IT WHEN SOMEBODY INTERRUPTS WHILE WE'RE ON THE PHONE. Think about it. Another driver who stops in front of someone on a phone is interrupting the phone conversation.

    Do you like bing interrupted when you're on th phone?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  144. Danielle F. 21, San Antonio

    the government will lose money in the long run, that's why! people will be forced to stop using they're phones while driving, stop paying for them, and the last thing the government needs is for cell phone companies to stop feeding whatever money they're making off of the "distraction". it's the same reason the government will never outlaw cigarettes! they will lose out on the profit! look at how appealing marijuana is starting to sound to some, and before it was preposterous! capitalism at its best!
    a woman said it best in your legalizing marijuana story that i am watching now: "why not have the revenue from it?". the government seems to apply this idea more and more, now that the blood has been sucked out of our traditional money makers.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  145. Jan Illinois

    As usual Jack, Money, they are getting money from this some how. It is dangerous to drive and text or talk on the phone. It should all go hands free or it should be outlawed. The car companies could put something and should that would render them useless in the vehicle. If you think they are not dangerous , Get out on the highway and see for yourself. In just a short distance you'll be able to count the times you are just barely missed by a constant talker, who talks about nothing but is eager to cross over the white line to text. JUNK.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  146. B in NC

    Maybe they wanted to clean out the gene pool. Only idiots try to drive while texting, dialing, holding a cell phone, etc.

    WHO KNOWS????

    July 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  147. joe

    The government in this case as most consist of our elected representatives, who are more interested in dollars for their coffers than they are in saving American lives or saving taxpayer dollars.

    It's time term limits. Then at least we know how long they're going to steal.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  148. Jack Pine

    Jack,

    I have been complaining about this since I had a person on a cell phone run into me and got a slap on the wrist. Where are the people who are outraged about taking a drink while driving when it is just as dangerous to gab while driving.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  149. Bruce Chameroy

    Because like everything else the companies line politicians pockets. Why would the politicians want to cut their one of their life lines. What good are the laws to prevent this if they are not enforced. Connecticut has such laws about using cell phones while driving. Ha! Ha! It is a feel good law so the politicians can say look what we did. Stop wasting the public's time and enforce the laws you make. I have seen people on the phone and a police officer driving right next to them and nothing is done. Cell phone use while driving is dangerous. People who do it on the roads have very little perception on what is going on around them. They are either driving slower then the flow of traffic or they are going to the center and then over to the shoulder of the road and back again.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  150. Jerry Gorsuch

    Hy Jack, like everything else in Washington its follow the money.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  151. Dick Swenson

    Sorry for the misprints. The guy in front of me just stopped and interrupted me.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  152. Jukesgrrl

    Why would the government suppress anything? Because a lobbying organization paid them to.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  153. gunguy

    Sure, talking on the phone is distracting. So are kids in the back seat, talk radio and bill boards.
    Will we also stop conversations between drivers and passengers?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  154. Gary

    This one is obvious, Jack. Companies that sell phone service would spare no expense to prove cell phone use has no effect on driving safety if there was any hint from the government they wanted to limit their use – same as the tobacco companies, no company wants any limiting factors when profits are at stake. My job requires driving a company vehicle, and cell phone use can result in termination because it is VERY DANGEROUS. No doubt there is money flowing from the phone companies to our stand up legislators.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  155. steve

    this is just another example of who really runs this country,and what their priorities are!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  156. Cal Riendeau

    As usual in north america, unless somone can make big bucks nothing will be done. The cure is simple with the use of GPS technology, if the phone is in motion it is disabled. 911 numbers are exempt and emergency responders would have exemption as well

    July 21, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  157. Karen

    Come on Jack,

    You're talking about the truth being revealed during the Bush Administration? Get real... Talking on cell phone on the road is a subtle form of terrorism itself..

    Keep 'em honest

    July 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  158. Jay

    My God, a government study that might have saved a few lives was held back from the public for the sake of money under the Bush Administration? What a shocker.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  159. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Just another example of the idiots we have in Washington, just like the idiots that want people to carry guns from state to state not that we don't have enough people getting killed, I'm surprised that the gun lobbyist doesn't want the government to require everyone to carry a gun then we could have good old time gun fights, kill off a few thousand people extra each year, the NRA is beginning to resemble a bunch of white KKK members.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  160. Michael M Phoenix AZ

    In order to not break their record of NOT notifying the public about anything that may be damaging to your health.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  161. Terry, Ft. Bragg

    The best government a wheel chair supplier can buy is also the the best government a cell phone company can buy. 90 percent of our elected representatives are bought and paid for by special interests. That won't change 'till voters learn to vote with their pocketbooks and boycott companies that contribute to political campaigns. They are listed on several online sites for just that purpose.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  162. Judy Arabia

    Jack, Did we really need a study(costing many dollars) to tell us that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous. We the people of the US should be able to figure this out. However, once the study was done,why the government suppressed this is beyond me.
    Judy Arabia
    Grosse Pointe Farms, Mi

    July 21, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  163. Tony

    Perhaps it's because people shouldn't have needed a government to know that talking/texting while driving a vehicle was dangerous. I don't recall ever seeing a government report on the dangers of shoving a stick in my eye, but I still don't do it. It is sad some people lost their lives – whether they were using a phone or the victim of such activity. Just as it's sad when alcohol/drugs are involved. However, driving is a privilege that comes with a great amount of personal responsibility. I think the government has enough to do and shouldn't be expected to take responsibility for everyone's personal choices.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  164. Sean S.

    I'll put aside my knee-jerk cynicism and try to imagine why they might have withheld this information from the public... OK, I can't think of a single reason. We can speculate about who influenced the Bush Administration to keep mum, but the fact is they did and it put the public at risk. Shame on them.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  165. David in San Diego

    Because the Bush administration tried to keep every "inconvenient truth" a secret. I California, legislator Joe Simitian has led the effort to ban all cell phone use while driving–he knows the research. Before I retired as a Psychology professor, one of my Psychology Senior Seminar students (about 6 years ago) thoroughly researched the psychology studies then available and wrote a documented position paper on why it would be good public policy to ban all (not just hand-held) cell phones while driving. The information is not new.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  166. Mitch

    Lobbyists, lobbyists, lobbyists!
    I live in Arizona where a negligent government just passed laws allowing you to text while driving and carry a gun wherever you want. Given the fact that I cannot acquire medical insurance due to a preexisting condition, the last thing I need to be thinking about is a hospital visit due to a preoccupied driver or a drunk pistol owner in a bar.
    Phoenix

    July 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  167. David M. Leal

    First , heads should roll (No pun intended). My employer DoD has the regulation, "No cell phones while driving on base". I just wish off base it was the same. Also, I just wonder how much more out there, that we don't know? "Who Killed the Consumer Protection Agency"?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  168. Fred

    Looks like Big Business GREED for Market Share of Cell Phone Money convince the Public thats what they need to survive in todays World. Then start the Vicious Cycle of Gouging Americans with 2 Year unbreakable contract and excessive Minute to Minute costs botht Verbal and texting .Lock the Market up and Hook alll person on how great the CELL PHONE can be. Well who cares that there may be a slight Distraction while Driving There Making Big Bucks!!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  169. Ed, Muldraugh, KY

    Why would the government pay for such rediculous research in the first place!? I bet I could have come up with the same conclusions for much less than what was spent. Employment justification in action.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  170. DAVID MALHALAB

    WHY??? would the govenment suppress information...DUH
    Lobbyist....lobbyist....big electronics and phone companies feared for their profits..so the pressure was put on...and the public was left again – in the dark – not protected by the people who are supposed to serve the public and not private interests...
    Police officers know better – they would like to ticket drivers who use their cell phones while driving – I was almost hit in my patrol car, by a woman who was trying to get directions from a friend, instead of paying attention to driving – but city councils and legislators are afraid of big lobbyist – who control them with campaign contributions and special incentives to follow their views and not the best interest of the community.

    How many murders in Mexico and the US would be reduced if we had an assault weapons ban – a ban on transporting guns to Mexico.
    Detroit would be a safer city with better gun laws – but the NRA scares legislators, congressman and even President Obama – why else would he not pursue an assault weapon ban.

    When the President is fearful of a lobbyist – this country is in trouble.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  171. Scott Haducsko

    I believe that they are withholding the information, because some states get money by ticketing people driving with cells. So i think the information would hurt the idea that cellular phones distract the driver. So they kept the information out so the states still get money from tickets.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  172. Richard

    You ask Why would the government suppress research about the danger of cell phone use while driving? Answer: Because the goverment no longer serves the interest of the people.

    Richard Mesa, AZ

    July 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  173. Rebecca in SC

    Law or no law, anyone who uses a cell phone while driving is acting with gross indifference to the lives of others. I have often wondered what I would do if a teenager killed my husband because he couldn't wait to make a phone call. I'm afraid that if the police declined to charge him with manslaughter, I would bring a civil suit for wrongful death in order to make sure that there was some consequence for his conscious decision to ignore the rights and safety of others. Laws against cell phone use while driving would protect the hypothetical teenager as much as the potential victim.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  174. Craig in Scottsdale

    What? The government is supressing information. Perhaps MADD is behind it. Here are the facts. One third of all trafic fatalities are caused by Drunk Drivers. That means that 66% of trafic fatalities were caused by some other type of distractive driving. Either way the victim is deceased. Assuming that all fatal accidents are preventable and there is fault involved, the remaining 66% of drivers that caused fatalities not held to the same scrutiny that Drunk Drivers are. Why the hell not...their carelessness caused the life of another. Perhaps if you are in an accident, fatal or not, and it can be determined that you were yaking on your cell phone, you should get 10 days in jail, pay a $2,500 fine and have your license suspended for a year. ?There is definetly prescedence for arresting someone for something they might do.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  175. Gigi

    We have basically the same government that we have had the past eight years. Nothing changes in government except which party is on top. The name of the game is always "all about money" to support big business and big government. Ninety five percent of the American people are so busy trying to make ends meet, that we pay no attention, as we are being swallowed up by big business and the government. We didn't even find out that soul of America was sold to China for cash until it was too late.
    To answer your question it's all about money.

    Oregon

    July 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  176. Kevin

    I didn't need a study to know this. Everytime I see someone do something bone-headed on the road, I look over and, sure enough, they're on the phone. It's not a surprise though, they kept climate change studies under wraps too. Why? As Deepthroat said, "follow the money."

    July 21, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  177. James

    This is a easy one Mr Cafferty. MONEY!!! Maybe I should be in Congress. I'm a genius.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  178. ryan burdick

    I think the government would cover this up because of all the money they get from lobbyists! It just shows they care more about money than the safety of American citizens. They should be ashamed of themselves!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  179. Jack Dempsey

    Jack, Are you a Star Trek Fan? Just as it predicted the cell phone and the Net. "We Are Borg" or at least we will be. Jack From Nice Ca.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  180. Jeffrey Cohen from LA, California

    Maybe because Congress did not want to spend time and money enacting a law that would be ignored and is still ignored by many people today.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  181. t l

    Government cover up, now there's a first. Why do we act surprised to find out that these kind of things go on. How many times have something been proven to be dangerous, sometimes even deadly, but because of the amount of revenue it produces, it's dangers are hidden. Everday some one is shot, held up, or crippled by guns , but there's still arguments going on about the right to carry one. I've been on this earth long enough to know, if money is envolved, life is put on the back burner.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  182. James Lenon - Chuckey TN

    Simple answer Jack. The lobbyists can put big bucks in the hands of Congress to protect their corporate sponsors. It's just like the GOP running ads against health care reform. Congress, particularly the GOP – who controlled Congress in 2003, cares nothing about the well-being of their constituents, only that of their corporate money sources.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  183. Melissa

    Because the last government was owned by the corporations they were protecting and had no interest in doing anything at all good for the people.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  184. j/NJ

    Why would the government suppress research about the danger of cell phone use while driving?

    Research or not the government should not be involved in regulating cell phone usage...of course it is potentially hazardous to chatter and drive at the same time, but responsible motorists are generally aware of that...actually there are many potentially hazardous events both in and out of vehicle that could distract a safe driver at anytime or place... indeed one wonders how many laws the politicians can pass to regulate or restrict freedom of movement in virtually all levels of social life and interaction...

    July 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  185. LDR in Central Texas

    Money. During peak hrs, probably 50% or more of the users are in cars. Just capatism at its best, Jack.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  186. Diane

    I live in Toronto and we have a law banning cell phone use while driving, unless it's an emergency. I have no problem with this and I agree it's the conversation that is the distraction.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  187. David

    Money, Thats all these crooks in Congress are about. Take away the money and they might start thinking about the people, instead of there own pocket books.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  188. Cassie

    You're asking me why would the government not be concerned about my safety? That's a good joke. When did they start caring?

    Iowa City, Iowa

    July 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  189. Marjorie Prescott,AZ.

    There is no logic in witholding this information from the public, especially when the number of deaths rival that of those Americans that died after a year of war in the middle east. Someone should be in the unemployment line with the rest of us.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  190. Fish

    If you don't know yet it is part of the patroiot act that is being abused since Bush allowed people to drive with their head light on, to let people feel patriotic. Basically him saying "I shipped out your sons and daughters in a harms way and now they are dead, I want you to drive with your headlight on to show your support of my act and intimidate and chase away immigrants to create jobs....." I know some cars have started building cars so that you can drive with head light on.....The government will resist because they have equipped the jobless men and women to illegally spy on citzens and non citzens, specially on immigrants.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  191. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    For the same reason that the government kept silent about how smoking causes cancer! M-O-N-E-Y from lobbyists!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  192. Chicago Charlie

    I really thought you were on vacation. I watched the start of Wolfgang Blitzkrieg and you are usually introduced fairly early. Not recently, so I have taken to changing the channel to MSNBC. I don't expect THIS to be read, but do wonder about how long into the show you are introduced?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  193. James

    Mr. Cafferty you are the truth. Thank You for not playing politics. Join the Congress. At least there will be one person there who reconizes truth.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  194. bobwhite in Kansas

    Why supress this research? Because the current government, both elected and bureaucratic, exists for the purpose of serving corporate interests and Wall Street, not the electorat. Just document the money spent by corporations and Wall Street to corrupt the peoples' government. Wasn't it the corporations that helped this government spy on the public? Wasn't it Wall Street and the huge corporations that substantivly recieved the stimulus money. Our government is corrupt and we voters need to defeat every incumbant. Anyone serving one term should be voted out. New office holders could do no worse damage even if they know nothing.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  195. Jerry Pirkle, Mississippi

    Government isn’t here for the people, it’s here to promote lopsided opportunities for businesses to fleece the American people of every dollar they have.
    Banks can rob you using deceptive credit card practices, insurance companies can drop you when it’s time to pay out etc etc.
    The laws are written for the business to survive, not people.

    July 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  196. John Halder

    I agree that cell phone use while driving is distracting. But how come truckers have used CB's for decades without equal concerns?

    July 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  197. Dee in sunny Florida

    Jack, please!

    Drinking and driving is dangerous, the government has NEVER suppressed that fact, but have DRIVERS listened?

    Eating, reading the paper, putting on makeup, reaching into the back seat to swat your kids and all the other things that drivers do are dangerous. The government did NOT supress those facts, the public knows. Have drivers stopped any of those behaviors?

    Driving at high rates of speed, driving too fast for road conditions, are both VERY dangerous. The government has been pounding that down our throats since cars began to have enough power to go over 25 mph. Have drivers listened? Duh!

    So, since there is PLENTY of information from ALL sources to tell us that talking on the phone (or texting!) while driving is dangerous, many states have made it against the law and have drivers stopped those behaviors?

    So, why should the GOVERNMENT waste its time telling us things that anyone with a half grain of sense should be able to figure out on their own!

    The government has plenty of other things to do with our money and I am really kind of hacked off that they would even THINK to spend money on studies to tell us that ANY of these behaviors are dangerous!

    Just think, if the government would STOP funding idiot studies maybe we could balance the budget!

    July 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm |