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April 21, 2006

this may explain our foreign policy too

According to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 80% of auto accidents occur when people are either distracted or drowsy.

This is actually kind of good news. If it turned out that 80% of accidents occurred while drivers were alert and concentrating diligently, we would be more worried and so take some comfort in this result, kind of the way we take comfort in assuming that 80% of the members of Congress are either drunk or have had their families kidnapped and being held under threat of death to explain things like campaign finance reform and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Records Collection Act.

Jacqueline Glassman, acting administrator of NHTSA noted that, "This is a wake-up call to Americans to pay attention.” And let me tell you, when I read these statistics about distracted drivers it did make me put down the paper and check the rearview but then I realized I had to put creamer in my coffee and the cell phone was ringing and hey, that guy I accidentally forced off the road sure looked mad...

The NHTSA report also quantified the factor by which you increase your likelihood of having an accident given specific in-vehicle activities.  For instance, reading while you drive increases your likelihood of an accident by 3.4 times. Applying makeup,3. Dialing a phone, 2.8 and reaching for an object, 9.

While that may be useful for most parts of the country, here in Washington, DC we have many unique distractions which is why we offer to residents and guests alike this handy guide customized to our area:

  • Trying to figure out which of the 1435 identical townhouses in your development is yours: 3.5. (5 if you pick the wrong one. 22 if you pick the wrong one and it belongs to G. Gordon Liddy.)
  • Accepting Indian casino money from Jack Abramoff: 7 (2 if you’re a Democrat).
  • Contemplating your own self importance: 3 (Double that if you are also considering the consequences to the Republic, and perhaps the future of Democracy itself, had you not been there to attend that joint meeting of congressional interns on the subcommittee to examine catering options for Ed’s going away party.)
  • Trying to remember whether BMW drivers are supposed to look down on Mercedes drivers or if it’s the other way around: 2.3
  • While marveling at the way in which your new maxi-watt triple-high discharge xenon headlights “really light up the road,” becoming startled at the mysterious manner in which everyone is flashing their high beams at you: 4.3
  • Suddenly realizing that 2150 is the exact number of times the Darwin-fish-with-feet thing stops being passably amusing: 1.8
  • Avoiding anyone who looks like they might want to serve you with a subpoena: 2 + 1 for each picture circulating of you with Scooter Libby. (Triple total score if you’ve ever referred to Tom DeLay as “my good friend.”)
  • Wondering if the badly faded bumper sticker on the car in front of you is from the 2000 Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign or the Hooters in Amarillo: 2.7
  • Worrying whether the people at the White House will consider your navy blue suit and white shirt to be “too loud:” 2.5
  • Envisioning in disturbingly graphic detail the violence you would like to visit upon the guy in front of you in the Jaguar XJR yakking on his cell phone while doing 45 in the left lane with vanity plates “2IMPT4U:” 37

J.

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April 21, 2006 at 11:13 PM in Weekend Leisure | Permalink

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