Thursday, November 15, 2012

There is much jackassery afoot in the CEA!




There are certain laws of life we must always adhere to, and one of the most important is there will always be some jackass somewhere doing some kind of jackassery stuff, just to let the rest of the world know that jackasses exist.

Exhibit A is Michael Petricone, the senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs at the Consumer Electronics Association. 

Up until now, I figured the senior VP of the Consumer Electronics Association just went to state funerals for iPhones that mistakenly get dropped in toilets, but it appears he has an additional duty that requires the finest level of jackasseryness.

Just in time to make sure public perception of dead people doesn’t somehow affect holiday Christmas sales, Mike released a statement that disagrees with the National Transportation Safety Board and basically says it’s OK to drive and use a cell phone or other electronic device while driving, and these wonderful technologies actually make it safer to drive. Apparently he felt the need to say this – aside from the fact that we must have been low in jackassery comments since we aren’t seeing as many political posts on Facebook since the election – because the NTSB released its Top 10 Most Wanted Safety Improvements List.

Here’s No. 2 on their list of things they want improved for safety reasons: “OPERATOR DISTRACTIONS: States and regulators should ban nonessential use of cell phones and other distracting devices by operators of cars, trucks, buses, planes, trains and vessels. Companies should develop and vigorously enforce policies to eliminate distractions to their operators. Device manufacturers should assist by developing technology that disables devices when they're within reach of operators.”

Seems simple enough, considering the thousands of people who are killed every year because drivers were using a cell phone or other electronic device – people like my son, Devin, who was killed Aug. 7, 2011, while biking home from work. 

After NTSB released their list, Petricone must have sat in his office and said, “Egad! Here’s a chance to be a jackass! I work for the Consumer Electronics Association! Surely there is an app for that!” 

He then released this statement: “CEA shares the NTSB’s desire to increase automotive safety and help save lives by reducing distracted driving. That is why we support common-sense measures like state legislation banning texting while driving and placing strict limits on the use of electronics by novice drivers. Unfortunately, in today’s update to its ‘Most Wanted List,’ the NTSB misses the mark on the use of portable electronics in the vehicle. By calling for an 'abstinence-only' approach, the NTSB ignores established realities of human behavior, as well as the fact that in-vehicle technology — when used correctly — can make for vastly safer roadways.

“Rather than calling for broad regulations or outright bans, policymakers should encourage the use of the many innovative driver safety technologies coming on to the marketplace. Indeed, earlier this year, CEA forwarded the NTSB a list of third-party applications that promote safe use of portable technologies in the automobile. We look forward to working with the NTSB to enhance safety without inadvertently prohibiting or discouraging the use of innovative in-vehicle technologies.”

And that, my friends, tops the list of jackassery for today, with a dollop of douchbaggeryness to boot.

Keep in mind, Mikey doesn’t quote any studies to back up his claim that there are safer ways to do this. That's because THERE ARE NO SAFE WAYS TO USE THESE DEVICES.  He certainly shies away from the more than 30 studies done by private industry and government scientists that show driving with a cell phone – even a hands-free device – quadruples your chances of crashing and killing yourself or someone else – someone like my son, Devin, who was killed Aug. 7, 2011, by a driver on a cell phone. Oh, did I already say that once before? If you are texting and driving, you increase your chances 23X of crashing and killing someone – someone like Heather Hurd who was killed by a trucker texting his location to his trucking company.

He would have you believe it isn’t the device that kills people – it’s people using the device that kill people. Well, that’s true … but they would not kill people if they weren't using the device!  The evidence is in – driving with a cell phone is a lot different than driving and changing a radio station. Driving and using a cell phone, or an iPhone lowers your cognitive ability by 37 percent. And, oh, by the way, the driver who killed my son, claimed the phone was plugged into the radio to make it a hands-free device, which proves that kind of technology did not work.

I'm sure Mike could share his views with my son, but then he’d have to visit his gravesite in Kenosha, Wis.

So Mike, in all due respect, you can take your line of crap and kiss my ass. On second thought, I mean you no respect when I tell you to kiss my ass. The way you talk, you are not worthy of my respect.

You, sir, are a jackass, and your comment was just a little too much jackasseryness than this world needed.

If you agree, by all means, feel free to not let this jackassery stand. You can call or e-mail the CEA and let them know:

Tel: 703-907-7650
Fax: 703-907-7690
communications@CE.org