TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: 511 Traffic Phone Lines May Raise Crash Risk

Re: 511 Traffic Phone Lines May Raise Crash Risk

Robert Bonomi (
Tue, 06 Mar 2007 21:06:30 -0000

In article <>,

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I have always wondered by it is safe
> for police officers to talk on the radio while their car is moving
> but it is not safe for civilians to do the same thing. The answer, we
> are told, is that 'police officers have better training for same.'
> PAT]

Its not so much 'talking on the radio' per se, but the _kind_ of
conversations that go on. In that respect, cell-phone 'conversations'
_are_ radically different from the query-response and/or instructions
of a typical 'dispatch' system. Cell-phones _are_ a problem in this
respect because the users get emotionally involved in the 'story being
told' (either as the teller or the listener) to the point of
"forgetting about" the reqiremets of the 'primary task' (driving) in
which they are engeged.

It is a 'natural' failing for a person -- given things that are
'competing' for their attention -- to focus primrily on the
'interestinng' thing, while giving minimal, 'rote', mental expeditures
to the 'routine'things. And, it works OK _most_ of the time (providing
self-reinforcig feedback) -- *until* the 'unexpected' occurs.

It is also true that police officers _do_ have more training on the
subject than "Joe Sixpack' does. I don't know of a civiian 'drivers
ed' course that touches on the matter, nor a state license exam that
addresses it.

Law enforcement training courses, on the other hand, *DO* expressly
cover things like 'radio operational procedure', 'use of radio during
a pursuit', etc.. Driving _itself_ is also explicitly covered -- not
just 'pursuit', but also 'defensive' driving, and observing
_everthing_ going on 'outside' (see 'situational awreness', below0.
The matter of when _not_ to use the radio is also eplicitly covered.

L.E. _field_ trainig stresses the necessity of maitaining 'situational
awreness' at *ALL*TIMES*, -- that concentrating on one thing, and
ignoring the 'rest of the world' is a good way to get yourself killed.
Talking on the radio _without_ letting it affect ones situational
awareness -is- a natural outcome of such training.

Compare this to the 'situational awareness' shown by the archtypical
"blonde" touchig up her makeup, _and_ exchanging juicy gossip on her
cell-phone as she merges into rush-hour traffic on the freeway.

Yeah, law-enforcement types _are_ better trained. <grin>

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Did you notice the scandalous story
in the papers a couple days ago which stated that in about twenty
states, there is no _mandatory_ training required of police officers
who are freshly hired? In all but two or three of those states, new
officers are _supposed_ to be closely supervised by an experienced
officer for the first sixty or ninety days, or until the new officer
completes an _optional_ training course? PAT]

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