A taxi driver in Singapore recently drove his taxi headfirst into a rather deluxe condominium swimming pool! At subsequent court case driver was fully exonerated from any blame on grounds that it was raining heavily at time of incident and (would you believe it?) that no barriers were in place around pool. If anybody was to ponder over this scenario it would not be hard to conjure up a few chinks and cracks in stories armor. Well, swimming pools do not normally reside directly in front of condominium entrances as those living there tend not to favor passerby’s peering in! Oh, and who would design it such that drunken residents, returning home from a night on town, are faced with an assault course before being allowed to their apartment and to bed? I would also question lack of lighting around driveway, speed that taxi was taking and his knowledge of area. But going no further; driver was so obviously doing what millions of other people are doing right now – he was concentrating away on his cell phone, weaving and ducking around plant pots and over grass verges and was not able to fully apply himself to staying on driveway! A point to back-up this reasoning is that Singaporean taxi-drivers always ring customers upon arrival at pick-up point. So this driver was without doubt struggling to call his future passengers to come down, whilst paying little attention to large sign that said “swimming pool ahead”!
Mobile Phone usage by drivers on move has increased world-wide. Many officials, governments, safety bodies, other drivers and pedestrians are becoming seriously worried about this modern phenomenon. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA conducted a survey and came up with some startling and very shocking data! The results showed that 1.2 million people or 8% of drivers in States were using handheld or hands free cell phones during daylight hours in 2004; a 50% increase since 2002 and a 100% rise in four years. Mr. Ray Tyson, a spokesperson for NHTSA shared his views with us: while we don’t have hard evidence that there’s been an increase in number of crashes, we know that talking on phone can degrade driver performance”. Thanks Ray for enlightenment but why did you restrict survey to daylight hours only, do you expect mobile phone wielding drivers to always tell truth and why don’t you have any hard evidence? Ray clearly reduced his statement to casual observation status rather than committing himself or NHTSA by shouting out loudly to world that situation was reaching disastrous proportions ………..etc!
Over in Japan recent statistics shine another bad light on situation. The Japanese Police produced some hard evidence (maybe they should contact RAY) of 1140 car accidents that occurred in Japan during a three month period in 1996! All of these accidents occurred due to drivers being distracted by their mobile phones in one way or another. In fact police went a little bit further: 9 people died of these accidents! 45% of these accidents happened while drivers attempted to answer their ringing phones. 28% while drivers tried to combine driving with dialing, 18% while drivers were talking and remaining 11% due to other causes like scrambling under seat to retrieve a dropped phone having just swerved out of path of an oncoming camper van on cruise control!
Oh! And heading back to Americas some objective Scientific Research from some body in Toronto shows that risk of being involved in a traffic accident increases fourfold if a mobile phone is used whilst driving! Thanks for that, maybe these scientists were spent some time with Ray!
Zooming across Atlantic, over Middle East, China and to Taiwan! A country that manufactures and has its hand in production of many electronic devices currently being used in world today! As a pedestrian crossing any road in Taiwan is similar to putting ones head in mouth of a lion, it is a dangerous event that most achieve by closing ones eyes and with a rapidly beating heart just taking plunge – crossing road that is! Recently this style of heart racing adventure has just gotten a little bit better: drivers manically wielding cell phones have dramatically increased heart in mouth adventure of trying to get to other side! It is still similar to putting ones head into a lion’s mouth, but a lion that has only just finished chomping to death its keeper, that is being prodded by a child with a stick between bars and has been forced to listen to a mobile phone users checking out is new ring tones!
There has never been a co-coordinated system of traffic flow in Taiwan; a total lack of respect for traffic lights and pedestrians exist and weaving drivers on betel nut (a chewy nut that causes hyper activity when chewed and drowsiness in-between chomps) just adds to general fun! Most pedestrians hug walls and sneak along with eyes working overtime as potentially hazardous drivers are logged and tracked by a well-developed brain radar system brought on by a desire for survival. Only last week a bus zoomed by with a cargo of terrified children peering helplessly and desperately out of windows; driver was happily conversing on his mobile whilst weaving an unstoppable course through various red lights at well over moral speed limit! Another recent incident which in retrospect is quite hilarious was when two moped drivers approached each other across an intersection. Their speeds were not great and whole scenario played out as if in slow motion; each was concentrating on their respective conversations, each was weaving drunkenly forwards in fits and starts and as if pre-ordained they collided head on. A tangled heap resulted but without serious injury or damage. But what is even more hilarious is that both individuals picked themselves up, brushed themselves off and without acknowledging each other or scrambling to shift blame they both reached around for cell phones. And without pause they continued their conversations – why let a mere traffic accident get in way of a call? Who knows, maybe they were talking to each before they crashed and afterwards were busy obtaining each others insurance details – all over phone!