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Author Topic: The Gov't is Telling How to Drive Your Bus  (Read 2885 times)
Lin
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« on: January 26, 2010, 01:16:55 PM »

First they took away tv and movies and now this.  Pretty soon all you be allowed to do is sleep!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012602031.html

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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2010, 01:24:06 PM »

Finally something I'll be good at...Sleep...Cable
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 01:32:51 PM »

Don't text, don't twitter,.... if the phone rings while driving, the wife answers it or if she is not with me i pull over and stop or just call back when i get somewhere.  Should all be banned for all drivers as far as i am concerned.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 01:50:50 PM »

It's about time. People are just too darn dumb when it comes to mobile communications devices. That of course excludes all law enforcement officers on duty.

I did notice they left out the locomotive engineers like the one near LA 18 months ago. There was one other recently but where escapes me right now.

In Enfield, NC about 4 weeks ago there was a mother, her nine year old son and 4 month old daughter in her vehicle. Well she was talking on a cell phone while approaching a highway-rail grade crossing. She and the train were heading in the same direction, with the train catching up to her. Well guess what, she drives throught the down crossing gates and then STOPS on the tracks. Mother and son dispatched permanently and the 4 month old daughter survived because of being in a child safety seat - also goverment mandated. Everyone of the local business people swore up and down the lights/gates were not working, had a history of being reported and nothing being done in response. Good thing Amtrak has gotten fed up with these type folks and equipped the locomotive with a video recorder. When viewed by the NCSHP the video showed everything as it happened and that all saefty devices were working. They also checked cell phone records and found out she was in conversation up to the point of impact when the call was disconnected.

Again, some people are just plain stupid in there actions without regard for their lives or the lives of others. By the way, the conductor was the same conductor from a train 8 weeks ago that also killed a mother and two children in Durham at Ellis Street. That mother simply stopped on the tracks in a line of traffic and could not get out of the way. I say smash the gas in forward or reverse. Lots less damage that way. There has been no expression of concern for the mental well being of the locomotive engineer or train crew much less a published apology for opening their mouths and insertin both feet immediately following the crash.

That is a little more than two cents worth but it is an issue close to me.
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 01:59:45 PM »

When AM radio was first offered in cars, there were loads of people opposed to that because of the distraction it would cause.  Roll Eyes

I see a bigger problem from kids in the back seat. . . .  Shocked


The real problem isn't the phone, it is the idiot driving! Some people shouldn't be allowed near a steering wheel. The real problem is the misconception that driving is a birth right rather than a privelege that must be earned. It appears that restricting certain actions is easier than fixing the real problem . . . .  Sad


Seems a better solution would be to impose fines if you cause a collision while on the phone. But what to do about the other distractions from other sources (dingbat passangers, that cutepie in the next lane, eating lunch, the super duper sized drink that spilled & is drowning your passanger, etc . . .  Grin

The same logic used to restrict cell phone use can be used to restrict the size RV you can have since the bigger it is, the more damage it can cause. . . . After all, studies show a 40,000 pound vehicle can cause more damage than a 2000 pound one. . . .   Shocked
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 02:02:15 PM »

What, they didn't mention all the people putting on their makeup, eating jelly donuts while holding a cup of Coffee, trying to force a Big Mac into their mouth, reading a book or trying to figure out where they are on a map.

Cell phones is just one thing that should be banned while driving!

Stupid is as stupid does! Wink And you can't fix stupid! Grin
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 02:41:00 PM »

On an episode of the Mythbuster show they compared drinking to cellphone use.  Assuming they weren't fudging for ratings, they agreed with the conventional wisdom that cellphone usage impaired the driver of a car the same as 2 alcohol drinks.

Recently a SD police officer ran over a bicyclist while he was accessing information.  So while law enforcement were not part of the ban perhaps they should be.

Mike
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2010, 02:42:18 PM »

We all do it and we all know we shouldn't - simple as that.

It's illegal here to use a 'phone in a car which isn't 'hands free' - but whilst this makes it impossible to text I'm sure it only partially prevents the 'distraction' issue, which is about the brain focusing on the telephone conversation rather than the driving - and I'm convinced that this is a real issue having seen some pretty convincing demonstrations showing people in driving simulators trying to drive normally whilst doing various mental tasks. Older people have considerably more trouble, incidentally.

And a real life example - a few years ago a friend of mine and I were walking across a fairly busy road when his 'phone rang. When I reached the pavement on the other side I became aware he was no longer beside me - I looked back and saw him chatting happily away whilst standing stationary in the middle of the road, completely oblivious to the traffic bearing down on him.

Jeremy

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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 02:46:52 PM »

The federal DOT is starting to push for a complete ban on cell phone use in vehicles period.  No hands free.  We're going to see a major battle from all of the cell phone companies if this is proposed as law.  A lot of businesses have mobile employees who make major use of cell phones for employees on the road.  The cell companies could see major loss of customers or reduction in the amount of minutes used.

I will use my cell phone in my car, but very rarely.  Sometimes I am expecting a call from someone who is hard to reach and I have no idea when they might call me back.  I don't make calls in the car that can wait until I'm parked.  I don't text at all and would never do it while driving.

I can eat a snack in my car while having almost zero affect on my drivng.  I don't have to focus on eating like I do a phone call.
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 03:49:58 PM »

I have a usually strict rule to only do one other thing while driving--driving and eating, driving and knitting, but never driving, eating, and knitting (food stains are hard to get out of the knitting, by the way).  Anyway, I am all for the hands free thing and use an earpiece, but I'm not sure about banning use entirely.  I have read that there are more accidents caused by playing with the audio system (radio, cd's, mp3's, etc) than there are from cell phones.  My rule only applies to my car; doing anything else while driving the bus scares me.

I like this link.  It says rubbernecking is the leading cause of collisions.  Those couples should just pull over!

http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/07/20/the-6-most-common-causes-of-automobile-crashes.htm
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2010, 04:08:50 PM »

Jeremy, "Older people have considerably more trouble, incidentally."

Now wait just a minute there fella. I resemble that remark!

On the other hand I have seen no end to clueless young people, doing stupid things while using a cell phone, a walkman, or texting. Wait a minute, maybe they were sexting! Now getting one of those while driving the bus would really be a distraction!

I agree the list of stupid things people do while driving a car is endless. I have even seen one driver speaking on a cell phone using her left hand. At the same time she was smoking a lit cigarette (no that has not been outlawed just yet) using her left hand. This happened while they were the number one car stopped at a traffic signal. I was number two in the same lane. The light changed to green and she immediately pushed the floor shift into first gear with her right hand and drove off. Yes she kept on talking, smoking and shifting until she had run out of gears. I guess she had already evolved a third arm so she could steer the car too! In fact the only thing she did not do was blow the horn. I stayed way back from her so as not to get caught up in her mess.

In our State the courts are jam packed with the stupid and ignorant ones. If you get a speeding ticket here, a factor that is present in 75% of all our State's crashes, they deal it down to little or nothing simply depending on how the DA and Judge feel that day. It is amazing that in the US we only kill around 43,000 per year. NC accounts for almost 1,400 of that total. I think we are in fourth place for the most fatalities per year, behind California, Texas, Florida.

Sickening statistics. We have not even touched on those victims that wind up para or quadraplegics, amputees, facial disfigurations - the list is endless.
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Will Garner, Jr
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2010, 04:11:43 PM »

This only affects you if you're a commercial driver, although various existing state laws may already apply to you.

http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/dot1410.htm
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DOT 14-10
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Contact: USDOT Public Affairs
Tel: 202-366-4570

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Announces Federal Ban on Texting for Commercial Truck Drivers

U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced federal guidance to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses.  The prohibition is effective immediately and is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Department to combat distracted driving since the Secretary convened a national summit on the issue last September.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

The action is the result of the Department’s interpretation of standing rules. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.

"Our regulations will help prevent unsafe activity within the cab,” said Anne Ferro, Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). “We want to make it crystal clear to operators and their employers that texting while driving is the type of unsafe activity that these regulations are intended to prohibit."

FMCSA research shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting.  At 55 miles per hour, this means that the driver is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.  Drivers who text while driving are more than 20 times more likely to get in an accident than non-distracted drivers.  Because of the safety risks associated with the use of electronic devices while driving, FMCSA is also working on additional regulatory measures that will be announced in the coming months.

During the September 2009 Distracted Driving Summit, the Secretary announced the Department’s plan to pursue this regulatory action, as well as rulemakings to reduce the risks posed by distracted driving. President Obama also signed an Executive Order directing federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles or with government-owned equipment.  Federal employees were required to comply with the ban starting on December 30, 2009.

The regulatory guidance on today’s announcement will be on public display in the Federal Register January 26 and will appear in print in the Federal Register on January 27.

The public can follow the progress of the U.S. Department of Transportation in working to combat distracted driving www.distraction.gov.

END

http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/lahood01262010.htm
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Remarks for
Secretary Ray LaHood
Motor Carriers Distracted Driving Press Event
January 26, 2010


Good morning. Thank you for coming.

When the U.S. Department of Transportation sponsored the nation’s first summit on distracted driving last fall, we promised the American people the federal government would do everything in its power to send a clear message that texting, talking, and driving are potentially lethal activities with very serious consequences.

Today I’m announcing the latest in a series of actions DOT is taking to curb distracted driving and help make our roads much safer for everyone.

I’ve directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, led by Administrator Anne Ferro, to use its existing authority to prohibit commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while driving, using any handheld cellphone or other device that takes a driver’s attention off the road.

This guidance has far-reaching implications for inter-state drivers who carry cargo or passengers for a living.

Today we’re sending a strong message: We don’t merely EXPECT you to share the road responsibly with other travelers – we REQUIRE you to do so.

This guidance is effective immediately. It applies to inter-state truck drivers. It also applies generally to commercial bus or van drivers who carry more than 8 passengers.

To put this dangerous behavior in perspective, researchers at Virginia Tech found that truck drivers who send text messages on a cell phone are about 23 times more likely to get into some type of crash or near-miss than drivers who keep their eyes on the road.

By including interstate bus operators in this decision, we’re taking an important new step to protect ordinary citizens who rely on their drivers to deliver them safely to their destinations.

The next time your church group or theater group hops on a bus, you can rest easier knowing their drivers are legally forbidden to take their eyes off the road to send or retrieve a text message.

And you can be assured that those who put passengers at risk will face serious consequences.

While we know that all distracted driving laws must depend in part on drivers using their own good judgment and common sense, we also know that penalties act as a deterrent.

Therefore, any truck or bus driver who violates the Federal regulations mentioned in this guidance is subject to a civil and/or criminal penalty up to 2,750 dollars.

I’m proud of this ground-breaking effort to help make America’s highways and back roads safer from coast to coast.

In the months ahead, we’ll propose additional legal remedies and develop new tools that will help us work alongside the law enforcement community, safety advocates, researchers, and others, to find new ways to raise awareness and bring an end to the terrible dangers posed by distracted driving.

Thank you.
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2010, 05:49:54 PM »

For a few months I took flying lessons, and one thing they taught me was that the vehicle operator's primary responsibility is to OPERATE THE VEHICLE.   Whether it's a car, bus, plane or whatever, as my CFI used to say:  "Just Fly The Plane", even if someone is calling you on the radio, or something else is happening.   There is no conversation in the world that absolutely cannot wait until one is off the road and in a safe place to talk.

A few years ago I found a website that showed the relative safety of different countries' highways, expressed in deaths per total miles travelled.   If I remember it correctly, USA was somewhere on par with Portugal and Greece, and several times worse than many other countries.   What shocked me most when I started living here from Europe was the cavalier attitude displayed by so many drivers  -  it seemed, and still seems to me, that driving is just a distraction to their more important things in life, such as yabbing on a cellphone / filling already-overweight bodies with yet more junk food / making sure the make-up is perfect for the Miss Universe pageant they obviously are driving to / etc etc.   Just remember, Americans slaughter far more of their fellow countrymen (and women, and children) on the roads in just one month than perished in the entire 9/11 attacks, and this repeats month after month after month.

Either drive, or talk, but for everyone else's sake please don't do both, please.

John  
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2010, 06:59:06 PM »

Are you figuring traffic deaths on a per 100 million miles driven basis, or on total deaths?

I suspect Europe is lower because of strict traffic enforcement and I understand the drivers are simply more courteous.  Many American drivers tend to have a me first attitude and some will do just about anything to get home 30 seconds earlier.

Pretty much all of Europe bans cell phone use when driving.  The website I found says to assume cell phones are banned if driving in Europe.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 07:01:28 PM by belfert » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2010, 07:05:40 PM »

Brian,
It's the relative rate, not the absolute number that I meant.   Sorry if I wasn't clear.
John
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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2010, 07:41:31 PM »

Wow, next thing they'll ban is me talking to frank in the chat room on my laptop while crising down the interstate.
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2010, 08:11:23 PM »

What about truckers and CB's? 
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2010, 08:40:54 PM »

I think there is a big difference between talking on your phone and texting. I will talk because I am driving allot to appointments etc.. But if I need to write something down I pull over or will call them back when I have a chance. And I am not taking my eyes off the road. To me talking is not much different than talking to someone in the car with you.

I do not have a problem with ticketing for someone texting while driving. I saw the video where the guy driving the bus with the special needs kids on board rearended the car. I for one would not like to be smacked by a big rig or bus, let alone it be because of someones negligence. I have twins that are 20yrs old and both have had minor accidents while texting. If its that damn important to respond to a text then find a place to pull over and text until your hearts content. The last incident with one of my sons got him removed from my insurance policy because I am not going to be liable for him not listening to my advice.

I do agree that texting is not the only thing that stupid people do. I was on the turnpike running 75mph and a lady had a book propped up on her steering wheel. I honked at her and pointed at the road just as I do with the idiots that are swerving around there lane texting.

Yes some feel this is the government telling you what you can or cant do, but I for one do not text while I am driving and therefore will never have to deal with the guilt of killing a family, jailtime or loss of my life for a brief conversation about something that can wait until I am stopped.

Another thought is using TXTBlocker http://www.txtblocker.com/ this is designed to deactivate the ability to text based on the paramaters you set up ie. maybe over 5mph it deactivates the ability to text. Maybe if the phone companies offered it as part of there service?

As Paul said Stupid is as Stupid does!

Just my 2 centavos

Bryan
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 08:43:23 PM by bryanhes » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2010, 02:16:27 AM »

What a bunch of blithering idiots (the 'government,' I mean)... second only to idiots that 'text message' while driving. Sure it's stupid, but how to enforce a ban? Peer inside the cab? Heck, you can't even see inside a bus (Sean's excluded  Smiley). So what then... give 'em a textalyzer after the wreck?

They really wanna eliminate "unsafe practices," make 'em all drive 4-speeds.  Smiley I mean, didn't our folks all preach something about "idle hands..."

Nellie
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2010, 03:02:24 AM »

I don't care for the government intervention but I do wish owners of restaurants would ban the use of cell phones they are very annoying when you are trying to enjoy a meal and 10 people are talking on the cell with another 10 ringing with the weird ring tones some have.
I doubt if I use mine 5 times a month ,could be the smart phone I don't know how to use.
 I always stop to use mine, but the wife get her monies worth out of AT&T with her I phone Lol.  
It is great that everyone can afford a mobile type phone now I have had some mobile type phone since 1974 and the price today is nothing compared to 70's thru the 90's .
FWIW  I was on a waiting list for almost 2 years to get my 1st phone man times are changing



good luck
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2010, 04:54:59 AM »

If a trucker gets in a wreck, it is pretty easy to either just look at the trucker's cell phone to see if any texts were sent prior to the wreck.  The cell phone companies probably keep a time stamp of when any text messages were sent because some plans still chaege for text messages.
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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2010, 05:52:26 AM »

Any more the truckers are on their phones not the CB. I have gone for 400 miles or more down interstate freeways with my CB on and never heard anybody. Used to be hard to find a clear channel anywhere.
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2010, 06:06:56 AM »

Drivers in Europe more courteous?  Trust Me the most rude drivers in the world live in Italy and Spain followed closely by the Germans and the English.  yes I have lived there!  Just curious when Pilots will have to quit flying and talking on the radio.  Shut up tower I can not talk.  No amount of intrusion by the idiots in the government will make drivers safe.  More cars more danger and that is the reality of the situation.  Why does anyone think that text messaging is dangerous when the idiots cut off semi trucks and other speeding masses of death?  Hopless I say.  John L.
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2010, 06:12:44 AM »

So, If the subject line of this post said:

Can you text safely while you drive? Do you think we should invent a way that our text's and phone messages went straight to voicemail whenever our car is moving? would any responses be different.

Cmon, the vast majority are sick and tired of these posts turning into poilitical soapboxes.

I think everyone understands that bus folks by and large don't like big government so Lin did you have to word your subect heading with words that you knew were gonna inflame some folks?

I have texted occasionally while driving and I know for a fact that I shouldn't and I would like to believe that we are all honest enough here to admit that it is not a safe practice. Not because the Government says so because it's a fact.

I will have neck/back issues for the rest of my life and probably surgery because a young man piled into a car I was in and immediately got out of the car saying "I knew I shouldn't have been on the phone, this never would've happened if I wasn't distracted".
He made a choice, the wrong one and hurt me and another person, his driving record, his insurance rates etc.There wasn't a politician anywhere in sight and if there was it wouldn't have changed a thing.
Maybe if we all lived in a fairy tale land where everyone did the right thing. We wouldn't need laws. But the last time I checked this wasn't heaven.
If you can honestly say that you don't have a feeling when you're distracted while driving that you shouldn't be doing whatever it is that you're doing, I personally would consider you dangerous. Folks like that frighten me more than big government.

Rick
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2010, 09:22:25 AM »

Rick,

The title of the post was supposed to be ironic because it seemed to me that everyone could agree that texting while driving was indefensibly stupid.  I think the debate developed over cell phone use and other behaviors.  Aside from UPS and Fedex, I am sure that you will find that many, many companies that operate trucks ban texting.  I say texting is obvious since it requires looking away from the road and, in most cases, using both hands.  It is not merely a distraction; it is a completely separate, conflicting task.

I once read a news article about a couple that went to pick up the husband's motorcycle at the shop.  The wife, following him home in the car, ran into him and killed him.  The point is bad driving is so common, I am amazed that there are not a lot more collisions.  I would guess that those who blame all sorts of things for the accidents they cause would probably cause them anyway.  I once caused an accident while lecturing my daughter about her behavior.  I thought about blaming her for it, but I was driving.
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2010, 09:46:13 AM »

The science is showing that simply talking on the  phone , hands free or otherwise, requires so much more of your concentration and focus that you will be driving in an equivalent to impaired level of skill.  In fact, in a government test cell phone users exhibited greater impairment than drivers at the legal limit for intoxication (0.08%).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_phones_and_driving_safety

I personally don't answer the phone while  I am driving any more, which given the almost  Pavlovian instinct to answer the ring, is quite difficult.  Nor have I equipped myself with hands-free, which is legal here, because I do believe the science, and I do approach driving as a professional endeavour.  If I am going to do it, I am going to do it as well as I can.

Slightly different topic:  In Toronto there have been 14 pedestrian/vehicle accidents resulting in pedestrian fatalities in the past 14 days.  One dead pedestrian per day.  Toronto police are now blitzing pedestrian safety, and handing out tickets or warnings to pedestrians breaking the crossing laws.  We have these crossing signals that start a 20 second countdown when the light is about to change.  It turns out that it's illegal for a pedestrian to begin to cross the road after the countdown starts.  Lots of warnings and some tickets over that.  We all thought it was the countdown to start crossing...  I think police are also giving warnings over hoodies pulled up and Ipod earpieces while walking, too.  They are thought to be part of the problem - the pedestrians can't see because of the hoodies and can't hear because of the ear pieces, and literally walk into the cars.

Brian
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 09:48:37 AM by bevans6 » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2010, 09:48:03 AM »

Lin,

It is hopefully obvious to everyone that it is a bad practice to text while driving but I don't think we should even assume that.

Lin,  what I was getting at is, is it possible that this board be a better place to visit if we all kept in mind that for some folks here using words like Government, Politicians names, is just pressing their hot buttons and that when we do that, chances are it is going to eventually lead to a discussion that has nothing to do with buses.

I have learned my lesson. Religion, politics, law enforcement are issues that don't belong here and usually lead to people leaving our board. If you want to discuss those subjects maybe it would be better off in the off topic section or in a dialogue between yourselves through email.

Rick
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I will drive my Detroit hard... I will drive my Detroit hard.
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