>”How would you feel if the surgeon removing your appendix talked on the phone — hands free, of course — while operating?”
The doctor writing this fantastic article from today’s New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) on talking/texting while driving poses this question to her patients who don’t get the essence of the problem — the challenge of concentrating fully on the task at hand while engaged in a phone conversation.
For my frequent commutes between NYC & Philly/Baltimore I usually ride BoltBus (a subsidiary of Greyhound) and am dismayed that they continue to allow their drivers to talk on the phone (hands-free) while driving. Below is an email I sent their customer service today – I will keep you posted about what they say. I have also submitted this info on Oprah’s website – oprah.com/nophonezone – perhaps she can help change the rules.
I frequently ride BoltBus and am dismayed that so many drivers spend the majority of the bus ride talking on their cell phones (chatting with girlfriends, kids, friends – none of these have been “necessary” calls). I have even asked a driver, in the interest of the safety of those aboard the bus, to please refrain from making personal phone calls – to which he replied, nastily I might add, that he would make as many calls as he wanted as there was no company policy stating that he couldn’t.
I am sure that you have a company policy that forbids a driver from driving drunk. With studies showing that talking (on a hands-free cell phone) while driving increases the risk of crashing to the same rate as driving drunk, I don’t see how you can continue to allow your drivers to talk on the phone while driving.
I am sharing with you an article from today’s New England Journal of Medicine – the most widely respected peer-reviewed American medical journal – on the dangers of talking on the phone (including with a hands free) while driving. As a pediatrician in a neonatal intensive care unit, I feel confident that if you were the parent of a sick infant you would not want me talking on my cell phone while trying to resuscitate the baby. So too, I expect that others will show my health and safety the same respect and not drive distracted.
For a company dedicated to safety I hope that you take the necessary steps to make it company policy that drivers are not allowed to talk on a cell phone (hands free or hand held) while driving – because there is NO call that is more important than the lives of the passengers & the driver and the other people on the road.
I would like to speak with the Driver Operations Manager – please forward him/her my contact information and this email. I look forward to speaking with him/her in the upcoming days.
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