U.K. World Cyclists Killed In Thailand

U.K. World Cyclists Killed In ThailandA British couple’s round-the-world cycling odyssey ended in  when both of them were killed in a road accident in Thailand. Peter Root and Mary Thompson, who had been chronicling their journey in a blog, died Wednesday when they were hit by a pickup truck in a province east of Bangkok, Thai police said Monday.

‘Both experienced cyclists’

The couple, both 34 and from Guernsey in the Channel Islands, left Britain in July 2011 and had cycled through Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and China. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the couple, who met in art school and spent six years saving money and planning their journey, Peter’s father Jerry Root told the Associated Press in an interview. He said they were both experienced cyclists who knew the rigors and risks of extended bicycle travel.

The couple had been posting photos and details of their trip on the website Two on Four Wheels. They also had many followers on Twitter and Facebook who were tracing their journey and vicariously enjoying their adventure, which included a trip through remote parts of Central Asia. The couple look tanned, joyous and relaxed — if a bit windblown — in the footage. It is apparent life on the road agreed with them.

‘Dangerous driving’

Thai Police Lt. Col. Supachai Luangsukcharoen said Monday that investigators found their bodies, their bicycles and their belongings scattered along a roadside, along with a pickup truck that crashed between some trees.

Supachai said the truck driver, 25-year-old Worapong Sangkhawat, was seriously injured in the crash. He told police his truck hit the cyclists as he was reaching down to pick up a cap from the vehicle’s floor, Supachai said. The driver has been released on bail and faces charges of causing death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Would you have been able to take the same risky cycling journey that this couple took? Tell us about the most dangerous trip you’ve ever had.

Source: Gregory Katz, Yahoo News

Image: In 2 East Africa

NTSB: Full Ban on Cellphone Use While Driving

A federal safety board called Tuesday for a nationwide ban on the use of cell phones and text messaging devices while driving. The recommendation is the most far-reaching yet by the National Transportation Safety Board, Tuesday’s recommendation, if adopted by states, would outlaw non-emergency phone calls and texting by operators of every vehicle on the road.

It would apply to hands-free as well as hand-held devices, but devices installed in the vehicle by the manufacturer would be allowed, the  NTSB said. The recommendation would not affect passengers’ rights to use such devices. But because distracted drivers sometimes do not own up to their actions, or because they die during the crash, determining whether distraction was a factor in an accident can be difficult.

That was the case in a 2010 chain-reaction accident near Gray Summit, Missouri. During the 11 minutes prior to that incident, the driver of a pickup truck received five text messages, and sent six, and he was seen leaning over just before the accident, leading investigators to believe the driver was likely distracted when his truck plowed at 55 mph into the rear of a tractor trailer, which had slowed or stopped because of a highway work zone. Two school buses then plowed into the wreckage. Two people — including the pickup truck driver and a bus occupant — were killed; 38 other people were injured.

A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, e-mailing or accessing the Internet.

The NTSB’s action is a recommendation only, but the board has been instrumental in leading for changes in other areas of transportation safety. Chairwoman Hersman said the ban may inconvenience motorists, but would save lives.


Source: CNN.com

Image: Nohandcuffs.com