Describe how you considered your audience for these data—Representative McInness and the Transportation Subcommittee members who will read his report—as you revised its presentation. Did you think about their attitudes and expectations?

Background In the last year, three young drivers in your state have been killed in car accidents caused in part by the drivers’ use of cell phones. Two of the three were texting at the time of the crashes. The news of these three deaths has prompted Harold McInness, a member of the state legislature, to introduce legislation that would restrict cell-phone use while driving. Specifically, Rep. McInness wishes to ban texting by all drivers and to ban the use of handheld cell phones by all drivers who are not yet 21 years old. You work as an assistant to the Insurance Commissioner of your state, Felicia Ortiz.

The Insurance Commissioner has a number of responsibilities, including overseeing the insurance companies that operate in your state and advising the state legislature on legal matters related to the insurance industry. Ms. Ortiz has received a call from Representative McInness, requesting research assistance in support of his draft legislation. “Representative McInness called me because the insurance industry has been very active in conducting research into all aspects of traffic safety,” Ms. Ortiz tells you. “I would like you to get some current data on how using cell phones while driving affects driving ability and relates to accident statistics. Representative McInness wants to be able to use these data in a report to the Transportation Subcommittee, which he chairs.” You spend an afternoon on the web, searching for information. You find a lot of good information from federal government agencies, reputable polling organizations, and insurance researchers. You present this information to Ms. Ortiz (Document 12.1). “Okay,” she tells you after she has had a chance to look at your draft. “Thanks very much for gathering these facts. Two things I want to point out right away. One, I think the top-10 list sends the wrong message. This is a serious subject, and we want to be sure to show that we take it very seriously. And two, you’ve got 11 facts here.” “I understand,” you say. “I’ve got an extra one in case you want to drop one of them.” “I want to make sure we’re giving Representative McInness the data he needs. It’s better to have good data than a lot of data. So you might want to pare this list down to facts that relate clearly and directly to the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. Second, I’d like to think about whether it would be easier to understand if some of the facts were communicated graphically rather than in words.”   Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the case background and document, complete the assignment below.

Revise the Doc. 12.1. Then, write a memo to Representative McInness that recommends revisions to the Document 12.1 (which is attached (as well as printed at the end of this assignment sheet). Follow these instructions for using the data provided in Document 12.1 as your background information. Some of the data is pertinent; some of it is not. You should thoroughly revise and edit the list in Document 12.1. First, examine each item and eliminate any facts that do not clearly relate to the specific topic.  Second, arrange the items in a logical sequence by grouping them appropriately (you can look at Chapter 7 for information on organizational patterns). For example, organizational patterns include arrangements such as General to Specific, Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, etc.) After each item in your new list, write a paragraph on whether the item should be communicated in words or in a combination of text and one or more graphics. If you propose that an item be communicated with a graphic, indicate the type of graphic (such as a pie chart, table, or line graph), and justify the basis for your decision.

Draw the graphic and include it as part of the list along with your discussion. Your final list should include at least seven items (and possibly a new organization of the Top 10 facts) and should recommend at least five types of graphics, which you you will create and include as part of the final list.  Submit your revision as a Micosoft Word file (or as a PDF).  Reflecting on Your Work Once you’ve completed your assignment, write a reflection about your work using the prompt below.

Describe how you considered your audience for these data—Representative McInness and the Transportation Subcommittee members who will read his report—as you revised its presentation. Did you think about their attitudes and expectations? Did you consider how Representative McInness might incorporate the data into his report and how the subcommittee will use the report?

Explain at least three specific changes you made to your findings to make them more useful to the audience. If you think of additional ways to improve the data for the audience, list them as well.  Add your reflection to the end of your Micosoft Word file. Below are the items to use and revise as you create your list.   Document 12.1 | Top 10 Facts About Cell Phones and Driving Of all adult drivers who own a cell phone, 10 percent say they talk on the phone while driving “all the time,” 62 percent say “sometimes,” and 28 percent say “never.” An Australian study showed that cell-phone use while driving was associated with slightly more than a fourfold increase in crash risk (odds ratio 4:1). Talking on the phone while driving differs depending on the age of the driver. Of the Echo Boomers (age 18–32), 83 percent report that they at least sometimes talk on the phone while driving. Of the Gen X (age 33–44), 85 percent. Of the Baby Boomers (age 45–63), 70 percent. Of the Matures (64+), 42 percent. Sending and receiving text messages while driving is relatively rare: only 5 percent of all drivers who have a cell phone report that they do so “all the time,” 22 percent report “sometimes,” and 74 percent report “never.” A review of 84 studies of the impact of cell-phone use on driving performance concluded that whereas cell-phone use has only a small or moderate impact on driving-performance measures such as driving speed, lane position, and various other measures of vehicle control, it significantly slows the driver’s speed of reaction to critical events (by 0.23 second). In 1990, there were 5 million wireless subscribers.

Today, there are more than 270 million wireless subscribers in the United States. Of those drivers who use cell phones while driving, most think that doing so is dangerous (26 percent “very dangerous,” 24 percent “dangerous,” 33 percent “somewhat dangerous,” 16 percent “slightly dangerous”). Only 2 percent think it is “not dangerous at all.” The #1 outlandish multitasking episode reported by a driver (a Gen Y female from Texas): she reported that she had shaved her legs, eaten a taco, put on make-up, and drunk alcohol at the same time as driving. According to an insurance poll, 78.8 percent of people said they have been a passenger in a car that was being driven by a driver who was not giving his or her full attention to driving. The states of California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia, outlaw the use of handheld phones while driving. Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington, and the District of Columbia prohibit all drivers from text messaging while driving. Seventeen states also have laws that prohibit young drivers—drivers under the age of 18 in some cases, drivers with learner’s permits or provisional licenses in other cases—from using any kind of cell phone (whether handheld or hands-free) while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that at any given time, 6 percent of drivers nation wide were holding a cell phone to their ear.

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