Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

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Posts Tagged ‘driving’

Texting teen drivers

Posted by Richard on November 14, 2007

A few weeks ago, after I had a close call with a texting driver and saw a bizarre news story about another, I ranted a bit about the phenomenon, suggesting that texting while driving might just qualify as “felony stupidity.” Well, a new survey suggests that it’s astonishingly common among young people:

DENVER — A survey by AAA Colorado found 51 percent of Colorado teens admitted to sending or receiving text messages while driving. That means they were either typing or reading the screen while driving.

The survey also found that 66 percent of Colorado teens admitted to talking on their cell phones while driving. The Colorado figures are much higher than those found in a recent national survey, where the rates were 46 percent of teens who text and 51 percent who talk, AAA said.

The teens surveyed almost unanimously (97%) considered the practice dangerous, and 73% thought strict penalties would help.

I don’t want to get on a high horse regarding risk-taking by young people. Lord knows, my friends and I engaged in some behavior involving cars that — well, it’s a wonder we managed to survive. But we were endangering ourselves and others because our judgment was temporarily impaired. What excuse do these texting fools have?

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Texter hits train

Posted by Richard on October 19, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving up I-25 minding my own business when the car to my left started to drift into my lane. I leaned on the horn and slowed down. The other car recovered and remained in his lane, but through the rear window, I could see that the driver was holding his cell phone at the top of the steering wheel and punching keys without pause.

That was the first time I became aware — because of the close call — of the "texting while driving" phenomenon. Now conscious of it, I've since noticed a couple of other instances. So far, thank goodness, I haven't seen the level of distraction exhibited by texter Robert Gillespie of Eugene, Oregon. He ran into the side of a freight train that he failed to notice while texting. 

As a libertarian, I'm convinced we have far too many laws and regulations. But I've long argued, semi-tongue-in-cheek, that there's a case to be made for a "misdemeanor stupidity" statute for behavior that's just too dumb to tolerate. This "texting while driving" crap makes me wonder if there should be a "felony stupidity" category as well.

What's going on here? Are we breeding common sense and even the drive for self-preservation out of the gene pool? This is stupid squared, it's apparently astonishingly common, and it gets people killed.

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The health hazards of burning ethanol

Posted by Richard on April 20, 2007

It seems that there's another downside to the latest fad for saving the planet, ethanol-powered vehicles:

Ethanol advocates say that it's a clean-burning fuel that is friendly to the environment. But a study by Stanford University atmospheric scientist Mark Z. Jacobson found that if all U.S. vehicles ran on ethanol, the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations would likely increase.

Jacobson's work, reported in Environmental Science & Technology, involved the simulation of atmospheric conditions throughout the United States in 2020, with a special focus on Los Angeles. According to Jacobson:

  • Research found that E85 vehicles reduce atmospheric levels of two carcinogens, benzene and butadiene, but increase two others — formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.
  • As a result, cancer rates for E85 are likely to be similar to those for gasoline; However, E85 significantly increased ozone, a prime ingredient of smog.
  • The simulations revealed that E85 would increase ozone-related mortalities by about 4 percent in the United States and 9 percent in Los Angeles.
  • In addition, the deleterious health effects of E85 will be the same, whether the ethanol is made from corn, switchgrass or other plant products.

''Today, there is a lot of investment in ethanol,'' Jacobson said.  ''But we found that using E85 will cause at least as much health damage as gasoline, which already causes about 10,000 U.S. premature deaths annually from ozone and particulate matter."

 More smog and respiratory illness aren't the only problems with ethanol fuel. As subsidies and mandates divert more and more corn into ethanol production, and more and more acres into corn, we'll see much higher food prices, with more hunger and famine in some parts of the world. And don't forget that planting more and more acres of corn leads to cutting — or not replanting — more and more acres of trees.

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Gas getting cheap again

Posted by Richard on November 3, 2006

I filled up my irresponsible, planet-destroying SUV for $2.009 per gallon. Woo-hoooo!

Thank you, Karl Rove!

(That’s a joke, moonbats.)

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Summer snow

Posted by Richard on September 22, 2006

Summer isn’t officially over until this evening, but for all intents and purposes, it ended decisively yesterday in the Colorado mountains, with lows in the teens and heavy snow. Many places had over a foot of accumulation by this morning, and the northern mountains are expecting another foot or two before the storm clears out Saturday. Travel in the high country was — and is — problematic:

Blowing snow and icy roads in the high country forced the overnight closure of part of Interstate 70 Thursday into Friday, stranding some travelers with forecasts calling for up to 16 inches of snow through Friday night in the Rocky Mountains.

The highway reopened to traffic just before 6 a.m. on Friday morning.

Eastbound I-70 was closed from Vail to Georgetown late Thursday, although officials began letting drivers who were stuck at Silverthorne between the two cities continue traveling. Westbound traffic was being allowed to travel past Georgetown in stages, said Ryan Drake of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

A winter storm warning was issued through 6 a.m. Saturday for areas including Rabbit Ears Pass, Breckenridge, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 that passes underneath the Continental Divide.

The winter-like driving conditions sent many drivers hunting for rooms Thursday night.

This Colorado weather report is provided as a public service to all you Texas skiers. They’re making snow at the resorts, Mother Nature is helping out in a big way, and there’s already talk about what a great early season it’s going to be — it’s time to start planning your first ski trip.

Skier-snowman at Keystone
Skier-snowman at Keystone Resort. See more snow pix at CBS4Denver.

 

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Turn on your lights! (a rant)

Posted by Richard on April 28, 2006

Greetings from Colorful Colorado, a generally quite arid state that’s imitating Seattle at the moment. This morning, I have a modest request of you, if you’re reading this blog while driving in the Denver area (or in similar circumstances elsewhere): If it’s pouring down rain as you cruise the interstate, if there’s so much spray and splashback from the standing water that it looks like you’re driving into a heavy fog, if visibility is so low that air traffic control long ago switched to instrument flight rules, …

    TURN ON YOUR FRIGGIN’ LIGHTS!

Thank you. I feel better now.
 

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