From a bureaucrat’s perspective, it’s just much easier to hide inconvenient information. That doesn’t make it right to hide important information. Not at all.
Heads should roll for the recently disclosed cover-up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. People died on the highway because of this cover-up, and not just a few people. Back in 2003, federal government researchers estimated that 955 people died and 240,000 accidents occurred in 2002 due to cell phone use. Extrapolate those numbers out to 2009 and we can reasonably assume that 5,000 people needlessly died in highway wrecks because the government didn’t release this shocking cell phone usage data and issue a stern warning that people shouldn’t talk on cell phones while they drive, because it’s as bad as driving while drunk.
This cover-up by the U.S. government means that more people died because of the government’s corrupt ways than the number of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. Shouldn’t we declare “war” on safety officials who cause people to die by intentionally withholding safety information? I would have a commission get to the bottom of this to find out who made this piss poor decision to withhold the date. All the people involved should (but won’t) spend many years in prison for manslaughter.
And let’s connect the dots. Why would Congress get mad because of the release of this accurate data? Let’s see . . . maybe it’s because the telecoms, who contribute massive amounts of money to Congress, would see their profits cut if their customers could run up cell phone minutes while driving. Could that be it? Note: The telephone utilities pour more than $40M annually into lobbying Congress and many millions more into political contributions. These politicians and government employees apparently forget who they work for. Here’s a hint: their top priority should not be the telecoms and other monied contributors. They work for us. If they would have asked themselves this simple question (“Who do I really work for?”), maybe they would have felt compelled to release important safety data, which could have saved thousands of lives.
This recent disclosure is unbelievable and very very sad.
The NYT reports:
The former head of the highway safety agency said he was urged to withhold the research to avoid antagonizing members of Congress who had warned the agency to stick to its mission of gathering safety data but not to lobby states.
Critics say that rationale and the failure of the Transportation Department, which oversees the highway agency, to more vigorously pursue distracted driving has cost lives and allowed to blossom a culture of behind-the-wheel multitasking.
“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.