New Yorkers will be the first to use a new alert system. They will be rapidly alerted to potentially dangerous situations – ranging from terrorist threats to impending hazardous weather – under a new text notification program. Mayor Bloomberg unveiled the program, which will be the first of its kind in the nation, Tuesday morning near the World Trade Center site.
The program is called “PLAN,” which stands for the “Personal Localized Alerting Network.” And the goal is to give New Yorkers instant, potentially life-saving messages and updates on emergencies. New Yorkers can expect several kinds of alerts: warnings directly from President Obama, messages about immediate safety threats and Amber Alerts about missing kids. Cell phone companies may allow customers to block some of the messages, but certain alerts must go through. Cell phone users can opt out of some messages, but certain alerts will be mandatory.
So is New York going to lift the ban on text messaging they have in place now? Text messaging and related uses of handheld electronic devices are banned in New York (secondary enforcement).
What about the local truck drivers in NYC? The Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, has been “obsessed” with distracted driving – mainly texting and driving especially in the trucking industry. The federal government (Ray LaHood) has enacted a ban on text messaging for drivers of all large commercial trucks and buses. The ban goes into effect immediately, and drivers who violate the ban could find themselves hit with fines of up to $2,750 and the carrier could face up to $11,000.00 in fines. This law follows a similar prohibition against “texting” by all drivers of federal vehicles that went into effect in December.
Oh but this gets better, trust me. What proof did Ray LaHood have in order to just up and place a ban on texting and driving for commercial drivers?
The most recent study Ray LaHood has was conducted by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). They concluded that a truck driver was 23 times more likely to cause an accident while driving a tractor trailer and texting. But the study was ONLY done on 203 CMV drivers and 55 trucks from seven trucking fleets. Out of the 3.5 to 5 million truck drivers on the road today only 203 were studied. And they also included in their findings “near misses” as accidents in fact it was 46 percent near misses. How in the world can you include a “near miss” as an accident?
The dictionary defines a Near Miss is: an instance of two vehicles, aircraft, etc., narrowly avoiding a collision. The dictionary also defines an accident as: an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents. Again, how can you use a “near miss” as an accident when in order to have an accident there must be a collision.
The “Personal Localized Alerting Network” is scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year in New York and in Washington, D.C. It will expand nationwide by mid-2012. Nationwide? Well, Ray now what are you going to do?
LaHood: ‘Obsessed’ with Texting in Trucking – But What Proof
NYC Unveils First-in-Nation Emergency Text Alert System
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