July 21st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Govt. cover up research on cell phones & driving?



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?


Filed under: Government • The New York Times