Special to TPN - Chairman Deborah Hearseman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that several major U.S. cities will test the practicality of constructing separate cell-phone lanes on interstate highways. The purpose of this initiative is to reduce the risk of injury or death to non cell-phone users.
"The National Safety Council estimates that in 2010, 1.6 million car crashes occurred while drivers were talking or texting on wireless devices," said Hearseman. "The NTSB believes that it makes sense to segregate these drivers so that non cell-phone users enjoy a higher survival rate."
Approximately 20 miles of the I-495 Capitol Beltway around Washington D.C., from North Bethesda, MD to Alexandria, VA, will see an additional lane constructed with appropriate barriers installed between the new lane and adjacent lanes. Caterpillar 908H Wheel Loaders will be placed at strategic points to push incapacitated vehicles into a deep ditch that will be cleared periodically. A barge terminal is being constructed where I-495 crosses the Potomac River to receive the wreckage.
The All-Thumbs Coalition has been lobbying for a cell-phone lane for years. President Leon Carpal feels that the I-495 project is "a way to prove that mobile device users can be responsible citizens. We'll only have ourselves to blame if an accident does happen. The one downside is the possibility that we'll be discriminated against with higher insurance rates."
In related news, Fox TV has announced a new reality show for the fall season: "I-495 Survival."