Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bike Girl Wants You To Hang Up

While doing some reconnaissance on the 10 freeway, Bike Girl noticed some confusing new signage. The CalTrans signs typically used to announce Amber Alerts or how long it takes to get from the sign to, say, Downtown L.A., are now encouraging drivers to pick up their cell phones.

The signs say For Traffic Info, Call 5-1-1.

Bike Girl was confused. The state has outlawed the use of hand held cell phones while driving, and even permitted hands-free cell devices are shown to contribute to crash rates. A study shows 98 percent of drivers cannot multitask effectively enough to carry on a cell phone conversation while driving. Yet a state agency is encouraging drivers to pick up their phones.

Bike Girl has carried out her own studies on cell phone usage among drivers. Whenever she has come the closest to being hit on surface streets, it has been by drivers on the phone. Even Bike Girl's own mother, who is typically an excellent driver, is known to swerve when she picks up the phone, though she will deny that.

Bike Girl wants to know, whose decision was it to encourage distracted driving on signs on the freeway?

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