National traffic safety agency (NHTSA) causes thousands to die by hiding safety data

July 21, 2009 | By | 6 Replies More

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.

Image by Jim the Corsair at Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image by Jim the Corsair at Flickr (Creative Commons)

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.

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Category: Corruption, Fraud, hypocrisy, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (6)

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  1. Dan Klarmann says:

    How many years was it between the public disclosure that a certain mood altering drug causes cancer, and its prohibition? Oh, yeah: Tobacco products are still legal after 45 years or so. Growing the stuff is even subsidized by Congress.

    Let's skip congress. Just permit the insurance companies to deny damage claims by those who were on the phone within 10 seconds of the accident. People respect their personal pockets more than laws, anyway.

  2. In Holland holding a telephone (or a similar device) in your hand while driving has been banned for some time now. Lots of evidence shows how drivers are distracted when holding a phone. They invariably forget where they are on the road, moving from left to right and sometimes almost changing lanes unintentionally.

    Using a car kit is legal though and you can buy two very nice car kits for one fine. Still many people won't use car kits for whatever reason and rather be fined.

  3. |dvh| says:

    This is yet another example of the U.S. Government's failure to govern. The American people need to stand up and demand accountability. My blog post on the topic: http://ppmdd.blogspot.com/2009/07/governments-fai….

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    This story STILL infuriates me. I can't believe the hypocrisy of a safety agency allowing thousands of people to die in order to placate the telecoms. Money for people's lives.

    Here' another news story on this insanity: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5178757n&t

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    Here we go again. This time it's a different federal safety organization–the EPA–that withheld important information from the public:

    There is some evidence that Congress — and the Environmental Protection Agency — are rethinking their policies on a commonly used weed-killer after disclosures that the EPA failed to notify the public about high levels of the herbicide in drinking water.

    As the Investigative Fund revealed last week, the herbicide atrazine has been found at levels above the federal safety limit in drinking water in at least four states. The chemical has been studied for its potential link to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and birth defects, and the EPA considers it to be a potential endocrine disruptor. It is banned in the European Union.

    You can read the full article here.

    Question: Is there enough room in jail for all of these politicians and federal employees who put their own private interests way ahead of the public's right to know?

  6. rosa says:

    we don't need any safty agency to tell us distraction driving is deadly. any distraction can cause a wreck, and in those wrecks mentioned they may (no proof to that effect on my part just a hunch) said was due to cell phones if you simply had one in your possession.

    the cell phone may not even had been on or in use at the time of the wreck (never use accident, the motor vehicle code states that accident means diliberate collision).

    we know the responsiblity of using a machine that weighs 1000's of pounds and moves at speed, I think the basic problem is not use of cell phones or anything liek that, just complacency. my friend once was driving down the road trying to read her mail at the same time, I said that is not a good thing to do.

    you get so used to using that machine and coming home undamaged that you take it for granted. sometimes people are just o wrapped up in their own affairs to care how their actions affect others. they don't take that responsibility seriously,not saying if you get in a wreck that you necessarily were not seriously careful, it just means maybe the wrecks would be fewer and less severe if everyone didn't look at using a machine at speed as common place. it is very dangerous, probably in some ways more dangerous than riding a good horse.

    at least when riding a horse there are four eyes and four ears keeping watch as opposed to two without the sound or vision blocking of steel, windows and gadgets etc all around you maybe with music playing on the radio to.

    horses will look out for themselves if your not paying attention. in fact for self preservation they may buck off a inattentive rider who is acting foolish, who knows.lol

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