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February 16, 2011

Unintended Consequences of Better Cell Coverage

Skiers lost in the woods, turns without signals, and long slow lines of cars on state highways: all are unintended consequences of better cell coverage in Vermont.

Reassured by being able to call 911, skiers leave the bounds of ski areas for fresh powder and thrills (they may also be encouraged by helmets which protect their boneheads). So far this year they've all been found after calling for help. Luckily none of the rescuers have been hurt and Vermont hasn't assessed the cost of rescues as is allowed under state law. This won't end happily; cell coverage in the Green Mountain State is better than it used to be; but we haven't yet reached our e-state goal of coverage everywhere. No bars mean much less chance of being rescued.

Turn signal use has declined drastically. Hey, waddaya want? If you got your phone in one hand, it's hard enough to turn the wheel without worrying about the damn signal.

Our state highways are two lanes and there aren't many places to pass as they wind through the hills. It used to be that you sometimes got stuck behind an elderly driver or a jalopy that couldn't climb hills or a hay wagon. Because there was no cell coverage on many roads, you couldn't call to say you'd be late. The good news is that you can call now. The bad news is that so can the person six cars ahead of you holding up a long line while chattering away. Dead giveaway is that talkers' speed varies without relation to terrain or speed limit.

More Unintended Consequences.

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