To further support the idea that cell phone use is dangerous, the New York Times recently posted a previously unreleased 2003 study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that suggested that all cell phone use – whether it be talking on the phone, listening to someone, writing a text message or dialing – was equally as dangerous. Hammering home that point, a recent study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluded that an accident is 20 times more likely if a person texts while driving. The study also found that a driver's risk increases if he or she is driving a heavy vehicle (read bus) or truck to 23.2 times more likely.
Recognizing the dangers of cell phone use and responding to recent public transportation accidents where use was attributed to being a contributing factor, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) unveiled new legislation that will ban train conductors and bus drivers from texting on their cell phones while on the job. According to a press release, Sen. Schumer’s proposed legislation will accomplish four goals: First, it bans any driver or conductor from using any electronic devices while inside any public or private transportation vehicle they are operating; second, the legislation creates severe penalties and fines for any driver or conductor found using an electronic device inside a transportation vehicle they are operating; third, the legislation directs conductor and driver training programs to emphasize the danger of texting while operating a vehicle; and lastly, it creates a hotline for concerned citizens to call when they witness a driver or conductor using an electronic device while operating a vehicle.
Although I fully understand each individual state’s right to adopt such a law, waiting for all 50 to come together and realize that banning cell phone use for public transportation operators is a no-brainer could take either many years or a fatal accident on their own system. By taking a somewhat proactive approach – it does after all come in the wake of several accidents – Sen. Schumer’s proposal would make it mandatory for each state to adhere to the law and, probably, prevent future deaths aboard our transit systems. And, that should indeed be applauded.
It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.