Archive for Friday, July 21, 2000

Cell phone user hits bus; 4 hurt

July 21, 2000


— Just a day after a government hearing on the dangers of drivers distracted by cell phones, a motorist reaching for her ringing handset ran a red light and struck a bus, injuring four people.

Among the injured was a bus rider who was thrown through the windshield from her front seat. She was hospitalized in fair condition.

Wednesday's collision in downtown Kansas City, Mo., came after a hearing Tuesday in Washington on the dangers of motorists distracted by the use of wireless phones.

The car's driver told police she bent over to pick up the ringing phone and sat up to find she was running a red light. There was no time to stop, she told police.

The car struck the front doors of the eastbound bus, sending it careening into a concrete pillar. That impact sent the front seat passenger through the window.

The car spun around and struck the bus again in the back, before crashing into another concrete pillar.

The bus driver and two other passengers were hospitalized with minor injuries. The car's driver declined medical treatment.

Police were investigating, but had not issued any citations. The bus had $20,000 in damage, officials said.

A 1997 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found talking on a phone while driving quadrupled the risk of an accident and was almost as dangerous as being drunk behind the wheel.

Cell phone use while driving has been prohibited in a number of localities across the country, and a similar ban died in the Missouri Legislature earlier this year.

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