Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cell phone-distracted driver nearly hits officer on horseback; Horse swoops in for arrest

Reporting and photo from today's New Haven Independent:

When a reckless driver nearly ran into them on a downtown street, Officer Kim Roche and her trusty steed, Marshmallow, swept in to make an arrest.

“Lunching at Geronimo’s, I watched as Marshmallow and Officer Roche pulled over and ticketed someone for driving while talking on a cell phone. ‘Nearly hit us,’ said Officer Roche.”

Only in New Haven, folks.

For more on how the government has put on blinders on itself when it comes to the risk of cell phones and driver distraction, check out this roundup of coverage at Streetsblog.

Maureen Dowd has a great op-ed on the topic in yesterday's New York Times (excerpt below):

Studies show that drivers who talk on cellphones are four times more likely to be in a crash and drive just as erratically as people with an 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level. In one study cited by the highway safety agency, “drivers found it easier to drive drunk than to drive while using a phone, even when it was hands-free.”

Christopher Hill, a 21-year-old from Oklahoma who killed a woman last September when he ran a red light while on his cellphone and rammed into her S.U.V., tried to keep dialing and driving with a headset his mother gave him two months after the accident. He “found his mind wandering into his phone call so much that ‘I nearly missed a light,’ ” he told Richtel. Now he says he rarely uses the phone.

Hollywood offered a cautionary story with the depressing “Seven Pounds,” which begins with Will Smith spoiling his perfect life when he BlackBerrys while driving in his fancy car with his gorgeous new fiancée. He crashes into another car, killing six strangers and his girlfriend. The movie ends with a poisonous jellyfish in an icy bathtub. Don’t ask.

1 comment:

Ajlouny said...

Stricter laws have been enforced for cell phone use and texting while operating a motor vehicle, but maybe stricter penalties need to follow up that enforcement.