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Let's "Get the Story Stright"

Full Credits to "reprint"...

WASHINGTON – States should ban all driver use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, the National Transportation Board said Tuesday.

.....

The board made the recommendation in connection with a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year. The board said the initial collision in the accident near Gray Summit, Mo., was caused by the inattention of a 19 year-old-pickup driver who sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash.

Ok, so the pickup driver (who was killed) may have been paying attention to his phone instead of the road, and hit a tractor trailer that had slowed down for construction. That would be a nice narrative and certainly cause for concern if it were true.

Let's read carefully and see if it is:

Driver distraction wasn't the only significant safety problem uncovered by NTSB's investigation of the Missouri accident.

Investigators said they believe the pickup driver was suffering from fatigue that may have eroded his judgment at the time of the accident. He had an average of about five and a half hours of sleep a night in the days leading up to the accident and had had fewer than five hours of sleep the night before the accident, they said.

So they're not actually sure if he was paying attention to the phone at the time of the incident. He had engaged in receiving and/or sending (heh wait a second... we'll deal with that below) texts in the minutes leading up to the wreck, but they admit:

It's not possible to know from cellphone records if the driver was typing, reaching for the phone or reading a text at the time of the crash, but it's clear he was manually, cognitively and visually distracted, she (Deborah Hersman) said

Actually, Ms. Hersman just admitted she doesn't know exactly why the teen plowed into the tractor. While the article says that 11 texts were either sent or received in the 11 minutes prior to the crash the direction of the messages is not disclosed nor are their timestamps. If I send you 11 texts and your phone is in your pocket this pattern would be found in the telco records, but that in
no way, without knowing more, evidences whether you pulled and read the texts or whether you sent any of them. What if all of them were sent 10 minutes before he wrecked? Ah grasshopper, perhaps the phone was in his pocket and he wasn't manipulating it at all! Why doesn't the NTSB disclose the specifics? Is it because what the data actually shows doesn't fit their narrative?

Further Deborah assumes the driver was reading or sending the messages as proximately involved in the crash but being very tired the driver could have nodded off! That will quite-reliably lead you to ram the guy in front of you, incidentally. Ever driven while tired? I have. If you find yourself in that situation pull off the damn road at the nearest safe place and take a nap! The life you save is very likely to be your own (and anyone else in the vehicle with you.)

Let's continue onward here, because this story is about to get very interesting.

Let's first look at the "justification" for the newly-pontificated NTSB position:

At any given moment last year on America's streets and highways, nearly 1 in every 100 car drivers was texting, emailing, surfing the Web or otherwise using a handheld electronic device, the safety administration said. And those activities spiked 50 percent over the previous year.
Sounds bad, right? Keep reading.

The agency takes an annual snapshot of drivers' behavior behind the wheel by staking out intersections to count people using cellphones and other devices, as well as other distracting behavior.

Now wait a minute. Staking out intersections eh? Were the drivers reading a text or something else on their screen doing so while safely stopped at a red light in traffic? How else could the "stake outs" see with sufficient clarity (time, ability to discern if someone has said device in their hand, is using it, etc) unless the car is stopped? Isn't it funny how the "surveillance" claims to be taken in a place and through a form and fashion that would pretty much mandate that the person being looked at was not moving at the time? Further, how about the guy (like me) who has said phone in a holder and it's running a navigation program speaking directions (e.g. "turn right in 200 yards")? Do I count as an "offender" in this case because my screen is lit? It sounds like from the above they count someone with a Garmin sitting on the dash as "distracted." What if my bluetooth earpiece is in my ear (easily visible) but I'm not actually talking to anyone? How do you know? And by the way, if I'm stopped at a red light exactly what's dangerous about looking at a text that was received some time prior when I heard the phone "bing"? Exactly what am I going to strike while stopped at a traffic signal? If I'm using my bluetooth earpiece or speakerphone to make or receive a phone call (stopped at a light or not) how does that conversation differ from one with the person in the passenger seat of the car? Are we going to be told that all passenger seating positions must be walled off from the driver -- and that no radio or navigation assistance may be fitted in the vehicle either?

Why do I smell intentional fraud upon the public in this so-called "study"?

The pickup, traveling at 55 mph, collided into the back of a tractor truck that had slowed for highway construction. The pickup was rear-ended by a school bus that overrode the smaller vehicle. A second school bus rammed into the back of the first bus.

So let me guess -- the school bus drivers were using their cellphones too, right? That would explain why both bus drivers didn't notice that the truck in front had slowed down and they both got involved in a multi-vehicle pile-up. It would also provide reasonable justification for the NTSB position.

There's only one problem - that's not what happened, and now we get to the meat of the NTSB scam and fraud upon the public by our so-called "civil servants":

Investigators also found significant problems with the brakes of both school buses involved in the accident. A third school bus sent to a hospital after the accident to pick up students crashed in the hospital parking lot when that bus' brakes failed.

Wait a second!

Our intrepid 19 year old dies because he's stupid. Whether that was due to driving while tired or texting we will never know for sure, but it doesn't matter. Murphy is a bastard and the kid's ticket got punched.

However, by taking a material amount of the impact himself he may have actually saved lives as it appears both of the school buses behind him had non-working brakes! And the presence or absence of a cellphone by the 19 year old, no matter whether it was in his hand or pocket, has nothing to do with that!

First rule of driving: You're always responsible for your own situational awareness so that you can either stop or evade irrespective of what the vehicle in front of you does (or doesn't) do.

If you hit someone from behind it is almost always legally your fault as you're required to maintain that aforementioned situational awareness.

Now remember folks that a School Bus has a much higher driving position and thus higher sight line than a pickup truck. As such the driver of the School Bus had to have been able to see the tractor rig slow in front of him as he could see over the pickup and in any event the tractor is ~10+ feet tall!

In short it is rather obvious that the school bus hit the pileup of the tractor and pickup not because the pickup struck the tractor but because the school bus driver was either not paying attention or was unable to stop, and the second bus hit him because the second bus could not stop either! And why couldn't they stop?

The NTSB says both buses involved in the collision had significant problems with their brakes!

Worse, a third bus from the same school district sent to pick up the students after the wreck crashed in the hospital parking lot when its brakes failed too!

What the hell did this accident and all the kids that got hurt, other than the 19 year old in the pickup, have to do with texting on a cellphone?

NOTHING!

Had the 19 year old not been distracted (or half-asleep, which seems at least as likely) he almost-certainly would have slowed and been hit from behind by the first and second bus anyway.

This is a massive scam folks.

You have a kid here who's dead and can't defend himself against the libel that he was somehow responsible for the injuries other than his own. Whether he was distracted or fell asleep behind the wheel he paid for his offense with his life. We don't even know with any reasonable degree of certainty that he was actually looking at his phone in the first place. You can bet, incidentally, that if the NTSB had proof that he had been sending those messages or that he was actually reading them at the time of the wreck they would have said so.

What's obvious, however, by the NTSB's own statement, is that the injuries would have ended with the teen driver of the pickup but for not one but two separate school buses operating on the roads without properly-working brakes and/or attentive drivers and the third one sent to the hospital to retrieve the victims had defective brakes as well. The risk of further injury to the kids was avoided only due to the bare luck of that third bus crashing in the hospital parking lot first!

So what do we have here? Slander of this kid's good name without evidence. An attempted deflection of the actual cause of the injuries to the children on the buses through the desperate search for something, anything to blame those injuries on that doesn't rest upon three poorly-maintained school buses without properly-working brakes that were being operated on the public highways -- something the NTSB and DOT is directly responsible for. And finally, in the best of Goebbels tradition by our jackbooted Nazi Government we have an outrageous overreach and attempt to advocate new legislation for the purpose of harassing motorists who are doing nothing wrong based on falsified evidence, slander and lies.

To the NTSB and the rest of the Goebbels douche-nozzle jackazzes who I just caught in this series of intentional, malicious acts and the media outlets that ran their tripe without a hint of skeptical inquiry and pushback: F___ you all.

EDIT to add: the FIRST bus Driver to hit the Kids truck was 75 years Old,
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