Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Still texting and driving are we?

Good Day Readers:

The inspiration for this posting was a segment the other day on CBC Radio's daily national affairs program The Current hosted by Ann Marie Tremonte.
In it she interviewed New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Matt Richtel about his book, A Deadly Wandering: A Tale of Tragedy and Redemption in the Age of Attention. It profiles the death back on a Utah highway back in 2006 of two scientists on their way to work at the hands of all American boy Reggie Shaw who was texting.

Several times Mr. Richtel singled out the Utah state trooper recently returned from a combat mission in Afghanistan who headed the investigation for his tenacity. Initially, Mr. Shaw claimed he didn't have any recollection of what happened because it occurred so fast. However, the trooper was not satisfied with the explanation so kept digging. Through his persistence he was able to establish Reggie Shaw had been texting at the time keeping in mind in 2006 texting was so new police often didn't know enough to ask about it.

The Utah case became the genesis of shock film maker Werner Herzog's public service documentary, From One Second To The Next a compendium of three case studies the third of which graphically describes the Shaw story.

It's too bad when Winnipeg police ticket someone for texting while driving rather than paying the fine by mail they couldn't force them to attend at the police station, placed in a holding cell to watch the Herzog documentary. Hopefully, high schools that give driving lessons will show students, From One Second To the Next. Manitoba Public Insurance's public safety awareness advertising campaign would also benefit from showing excerpts from the Herzog film.

If that doesn't wake people up nothing will.

Clare L. Pieuk


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