Thursday, 29 January 2015

The London Free Press: Bad Journalism, Follow-up to "Stranded by the LPD"

I woke up this morning to see my father's daily subscription to the LFP (London Free Press, the local newspaper), and, as I do every day, stole the "Today" section for the puzzles. As I looked at the front page, the headliner GLARED out at me: "Distracted Driving: Even worse. Way worse. Again." (http://www.lfpress.com/2015/01/28/london-police-release-list-of-most-cash-prone-intersections-in-the-city-in-2014). I read the article as it articulated the spike in tickets issued in London, Ontario, up 30% in 2014 from 2013. It cited that distracted driving can be fatal, as quoted by a London police sergeant. My frustration at the ridiculous journalism spiked as well.

 OH, NOOOO! Garbage journalism at its best: The London Free Press.
Even worse? Waaaaaay worse?? AGAIN???

I was one of those supposed 2,187 people ticketed for distracted driving using my "phone". This number is inflated and utterly deceiving. The article doesn't even pretend that it's about using handheld mobile devices and chooses to focus solely on cell phones, which the article inaccurately reports. I was touching, not even USING my iPod. The article spouts that "texting and driving" are the issues. I wasn't doing either since it's an iPod mini and has neither of these features. The article cites that at pauses in driving-at stop lights-people utilize this time to use their handheld devices and therefore cause accidents. How do STATIONARY vehicles cause accidents exactly? Maybe THAT should be looked into?!? Sorry, now I'm just talking CRAZY talk!

I know how being distracted can cause accidents. I was almost hit by a senior citizen as I walked home from Cherryhill Village Mall yesterday. The driver wasn't even looking in the direction she was turning while in motion. Maybe it was because she was USING A HANDHELD DEVICE! Yes, yet more sarcasm. At least the writer of the LFP article notes that distraction can come in varying forms, such as eating...Great job, writer, for NOT noting another serious distraction: those HUGE screens built into the dashboards of vehicles so that you don't even have to move your body and LOOK behind you (both left and right) before backing out of a parking spot, or the 5 hanging television screens that drop from the ceiling of a car so that people can watch t.v. or movies (what an unnecessary feature) making noise as a distraction inconsequential. Let's also not mention the fact that simply turning on/off the heat, radio, A/C, etc., can also be distracting. Pulling down your visor and looking in the mirror (to check your make-up, perhaps?), well who ever gets ticketed for that??? Yet distracted driving it is!

Most people I know don't care for the LFP because it's never been known for it's cutting-edge journalism or even good journalism for that matter, but this front-cover report was just TERRIBLE. Collisions are on the rise! Okay, but did the article take ANY OTHER factors into account, such as weather and driving conditions? No. How about people not driving considerately? We all know that Londoners are famous for being bad drivers (SO RUDE!), so being inconsiderate could never be an issue. Poorly done, LFP. Very poorly done. My father's subscription will eventually end and I will be having a serious discussion about him returning to either the National Post or The Globe and Mail.

I'd also like to note that police vehicles are equipped with HUGE monitors that they are allowed to type data into WHILE they are driving, or at least that's what I'm assuming since they're always typing and driving. The screen is level with their waist/seat, so they need to look down, but hey, that's not distracted driving either! My point is distraction is not only in the way of phones-texting and/or talking while driving-and this new implementation of plainclothes officers sitting on a corner idly watching for people idle at a light and simply TOUCHING a mobile handheld device and then ticketing them isn't really going to solve the problem. Shocker. Catch people WHILE they are texting/talking AND driving. Is that too difficult for officers to do? Is this why these traps are being set-up?

 You've been warned, Londoners!
"Top 10 Spots for Crashes"...They forgot to add, "Which are ALL a Result of Cell Phone Use While Idle". Seriously? Are people buying this??? Let's hope not!!!

Once again an example of LFP journalism AND London law enforcement completely missing the mark. Are we surprised?

*I feel it imperative to note that I once caused a fender bender because I was distracted while driving: my mother was trying to put her prescription in the visor above me and at the same time the car in front of me started to move (we had been stationary at a traffic light). When my mother's hand/arm got in my way, I tried to swat her arm away and looked over at her long enough NOT to see the woman in front of me stop. I hit the woman in front of me (although I was going less than 15km/hr) and ruined my hood; her car had no damages, nor did she have any health problems at that moment. I reported the accident, took full responsibility and was sued almost 2 years to the date of the accident (people who are rear-ended can show signs of back problems up to two years following an accident). She reported that I was talking on my phone (I wasn't), and when Rogers submitted my call log, it recorded that I hadn't used my phone for over an hour before and after the accident. Distracted driving isn't solely about using phones while driving...Your mother can be driving with you and that can be distraction enough, hehehe ;)

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