Calif. govt. spied on cell phone users, recording age, gender, race, passengers, & more
By Martin Hill
LibertyFight.com
July 10, 2013


Think that guy standing on the offramp is just holding a "will work for food" sign? Maybe not. He could possibly be a government spy, one of many who admittedly stood on freeway offramps and at traffic lights monitoring and recording data for the state. For the past three years, the state of California Office of Traffic Safety in conjunction with other groups has conducted a "cell phone observational survey," which monitors and records the race, age, gender, vehicle type, number of kids in the car, number of passengers, and more.

The study, dubbed the "Observational Study of Cell Phone and Texting Use Among California Drivers" notes whether unwitting subjects were "holding phone to ear with hand," "talking on headset or bluetooth," "manipulating handheld device," or "talking on handheld device." Scientific methods are then utilized to compile and analyize the data at UC Berkeley.

The final data included a total of 5,664 vehicle observations from 129 sites across the Golden State. The study notes that "For the highway sites, only controlled exit ramps with either a stop sign or a traffic light were included." It contines "A single observer was positioned at the controlled intersection, whenever safe and possible on the driver's side of the road. After completing observation at the assigned sites, field observers submitted forms and all additional documentation... In total, 26.6% of all observations were made at highway exit ramps, including major California routes and freeways, and 72.8% were completed on surface streets."

The seventeen counties included in the study were Alameda, Butte, El Dorado, Kern, Merced, Placer, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Tulare, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside. Five of the largest counties, L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego, are said to account for 53.6% of all daily vehicle miles traveled (DVMT) on California roadways.

The California Highway Patrol mentioned the report in a press release, proudly noting that "More than 57,000 drivers were ticketed for handheld cell phone talking or texting during April's Distracted Driving Awareness Month." The final report stated, in part,

"The data collection was conducted between February 20, 2012, and April 11, 2012, by Ewald & Wasserman Field Observer teams based out of the San Francisco Bay Area and a southern California (Los Angeles and San Diego) area. Data collection times ranged from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and included weekend days and weekdays. The field observers were rigorously trained in the methodology and protocols and assigned batches of location sites where they would conduct the 45-minute observation. The field observers were monitored and managed by the E&W Project Manager throughout the study period...The teams were instructed to contact the Project Manager regarding site identification issues, weather, or safety concerns....The field observers were provided with a packet of materials which included observation forms, specific site locations, a validation letter on UC Berkeley SafeTREC and OTS letterhead for respondents inquiring about the purpose of the observations, and guidelines for procedures while in the field."
Contrasting their current and previous reports, some interesting tidbits in the report include the following facts:

The study notes that "A positive confirmation of any one of those three behaviors ( holding a phone to the ear, manipulating a hand-held electronic device while driving, or talking on a hand-held device) with an observed driver was coded as "distracted driving by electronic device."

The report's conclusion stated, in part,

"As the trend toward increased smart phone ownership increases, so do safety concerns. Given NHTSA's 2009 report that 24,000 (5%) of people injured in distracted-driving-related crashes cited cell phones as the distraction and that 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving, this growth in phone use causes concern (7)... The substantial and dramatic growth in those manipulating hand-held devices deserves attention. New research is documenting the impact of mobile device use, especially talking and texting while driving, and its relation to crashes. At the same time, states are developing programs and policies to address this concern. Research must continue to explore the impact on hand-held vs. hands-free mobile device use, and to explore the impact of different types of mobile phone use, using voice-activated controls, GPS, etc. in driving and safety."
A screenshot of the form the freeway snoops used is at the very bottom of this page.

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Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, Veterans Today, Educate-Yourself.org, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, Jonathan Turley blog, National Motorists Association, RomanCatholicReport.com, Republic Broadcasting Network, WorldNetDaily, Dr. Kevin Barret's Truth Jihad radio show, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, Strike-The-Root.com, DavidIcke.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, Antiwar.com, IamtheWitness.com, The Press Enterprise, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, Whittier Daily News, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

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