Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
10 October 2010
From: "Mast Sanity" <email@example.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 09, 2010 6:46 PM
LaHood Weighs Urging Ban on All Driver Phone Use in Cars
By Angela Greiling Keane and Jeff Green -
Oct 8, 2010
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
Ray LaHood, U.S transportation secretary.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he believes motorists are distracted by any use of mobile phones while driving, including hands-free calls, as his department begins research that may lead him to push for a ban.
LaHood, whose campaign against texting and making calls while driving has led to restrictions in 30 states, says his concerns extend to vehicle information and entertainment systems such as Ford Motor Co.’s Sync and General Motors Co.’s OnStar.
”I don’t want people talking on phones, having them up to their ear or texting while they’re driving,” LaHood said in an interview this week. “We need a lot better research on other distractions, including Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calls and the in-car systems,” he said.
Even without a ban, which would have to be implemented by individual states, LaHood¹s escalating campaign may limit the growth of vehicle features such as Sync, being added by automakers to attract younger buyers. His push also may reduce calls made from vehicles and the revenue of mobile-phone companies such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc.
LaHood, 64, said even hands-free phone conversations are a “cognitive distraction.” Calling for a ban on hands-free communications is a possible outcome of research under way at the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into all driver distractions, Olivia Alair, a department spokeswoman, said.
LaHood plans to meet with the heads of all makers of cars sold in the U.S. to discuss their cooperation in limiting distracted driving, he said in the Oct. 5 interview. He said he’s not yet recommending restrictions on hands-free phone calls and didn’t say when he might make a decision.
The transportation secretary may have little chance of getting a ban by the states even if he decides one is justified, said Christopher King, a telecommunications analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in Baltimore.
”It’s so ingrained at this point, I think banning that would be extremely difficult, bordering on folly,” King said in an interview. “There would be no legitimate, public support for an outright ban.”
The Transportation Department’s powers to push further limits on distracted driving range from exhortations to setting standards backed by the federal government’s financial clout. The government previously awarded highway aid to states based on whether they raised the legal drinking age to 21 or required seatbelt use.
What People Do
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wants to make sure regulators don’t prohibit a wireless link in cars, said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Washington-based group, whose 12 members include Ford, GM and Toyota Motor Corp.
Newton cited technologies that can automatically alert emergency responders
if a car crashes and systems being developed that would alert drivers to changing weather or accidents ahead on the road.
“Our feeling is it¹s a matter of balancing what we know people are going to do anyway with what technology can help them do safer in a vehicle,” he said. “We know that people are going to have conversations and look at maps and listen to music in a vehicle.”
The Transportation Department estimated about 5 percent of all drivers in 2009 were using mobile phones in their cars at any given time.
LaHood began campaigning last year to limit driver distractions that he says caused 5,474 deaths in 2009 and accounted for 16 percent of all road fatalities. The total was a 6 percent decline from 5,838 in 2008.
“In one year, we have made a difference,” LaHood said of his effort to win state restrictions. “Our goal is to get all 50 states.”
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which has said LaHood is focusing too much attention on distracted driving instead of other safety pursuits, released a study last month concluding laws banning handheld texting don’t reduce crashes. The study, using data from four states before and after they enacted anti-texting laws, found the overall number of crashes increased in three of the states.
The increase may stem from drivers taking their eyes off the road even more as they try to hide their phones from view while texting, Adrian Lund, president of the industry-sponsored group, said in an Oct. 5 interview.
Federal guidelines are planned next year to put into writing LaHood’s views on how much, if any, mobile communication by the driver is appropriate when a vehicle is in motion, said Ronald Medford, NHTSA’s deputy administrator.
OnStar, with about 5.7 million subscribers, is testing an application that would let users make audio updates to their Facebook pages and have messages from the social-media site read to them while driving. The system already provides crash- notification services as well as directions and information such as vehicle diagnostics.
”I’m absolutely opposed to all of that,” LaHood said, when asked about drivers using the Facebook and Twitter social networks. “That would be the biggest distraction of all. All of that is well beyond the idea that you¹re really trying to avoid distracted driving.”
Rebecca White, an OnStar spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Ford has been selling Sync, based on Microsoft Corp.’s voice-activated technology, since the 2008 model year. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company added features such as touch- command controls and voice-activated climate control this year.
Ford said in January it plans to bring social networking, Web browsing and thumb controls similar to those on Apple Inc.’s iPod to 80 percent of its models by 2015.
Eyes on the Road
“Research clearly shows that voice-controlled connectivity technologies provide substantial safety benefits because they allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road -- key factors in reducing driving distractions,” said Wes Sherwood, a Ford spokesman.
“Car manufacturers always say Osafety is our No. 1 priority,” but yet you invest your money into developing these systems where you can update your Facebook status,” said Jennifer Smith, president of FocusDriven, a group whose founders lost family members in distracted-driving-related car crashes and wants all cell-phone use by drivers banned.
Chrysler Group LLC, which encourages drivers to use hands- free devices if they need to talk and drive, is sponsoring a Car and Driver magazine cellular phone application called TXT U L8r that responds to text messages with an alert that the person is unavailable, said Esperansita Bejnarowicz, a social-media manager at Chrysler.
The U.S. wireless industry generated $152 billion in revenue last year from 2.3 trillion minutes of use, according to CTIA -- the Wireless Association, a Washington-based trade group that represents mobile-phone services.
“We support no texting and driving,” Marquett Smith, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, said in an e-mailed statement.
“If a ban is put in place, we will encourage our customers to comply.”
The campaign against distracted driving and the use of mobile phones in the car will continue in stages, LaHood said.
“The bottom line for me is to get where we¹re at with seat belts and with drunk driving,” LaHood said. “When those programs were started, people were very skeptical that you could get people to buckle up.”
For many years it was believed the low levels of radiation generated by cell phones and towers had no effect on human biology. ...
Mobile phone companies have been urged to display health warnings about the risks from radiation more prominently by pressure groups and scientists.
By Laura Roberts
09 Oct 2010
Mobile phone companies have been accused of hiding health warnings despite
scientific reports that radiation from mobile phones could cause health problems.
User manuals for the most popular phones tell users not to place devices directly against their bodies but the advice is often buried in the small print.
Research into the potential danger caused by mobiles have proved inconclusive, but some studies have suggested an effect on the brain and on sperm quality.
Alasdair Philips, of Powerwatch, an independent group which investigates the safety of mobile phones, told the Daily Mail: "Most people have no idea about these warnings.
"The safety advice should be included on the boxes and far more prominently in the “getting started” section of user guides and not just in the detail at the back that hardly anyone reads."
Meanwhile Dr Devra Davis, a leading US scientist, has warned that if the health risks are ignored we could face a "global public health catastrophe" within three years
Mobile phones are low-powered radio frequency transmitters which produce microwave radiation.
Dr Davis, who was part of a team that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, has warned that the threat from this radiation has been underplayed.
Her book Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What The Industry Has Done To Hide It And How to Protect Your Family, includes supporting research from studies in the U.S., Sweden, Greece, France and Russia.
A team at the University Of Washington found that just two hours of mobile phone-level radiation splintered the DNA of brain cells in rats, making them similar to cells found in malignant tumours.
In Moscow, a study has found that children who regularly use mobile phones have poorer memories and other learning problems.
Research in seven countries, including the U.S., China and Australia, suggests that keeping a switched-on mobile in a trouser pocket can effect sperm count.
Manuals for the latest BlackBerry (the Torch), warn users to “use hands-free operation if available and keep the device at least 25mm from your body (including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers)” when it is switched on.
Apple tells iPhone users to keep them 15mm away from their body and to point the dock connection towards their shoulders “to increase separation from the antenna”.
The Nokia C6 says phones should either be used at the ear of 15 mm away from the body and that accessories should not contain any metal.
Dr Davis said that people should start keeping phones in bags and the knee-level pockets of cargo trousers, well away from their ovaries or testicles.
Dear Sir, Madam, Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, for your information.
Citizens' Initiative Omega
Member of the Buergerwelle Germany (incorporated society)
Protectorate Union of the Citizens and Initiatives for the Protection against Electrosmog
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