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The winners and the losers

SHARE The winners and the losers

Loser: The insides of automobiles are becoming as noisy and confusing as the outside world, and that's bad news for safety. Americans spend a great deal of time these days talking on the telephone, reading, eating and using computers. Unfortunately, they tend to be doing these things all while driving down the road.

The National Highway Safety Administration released a study this week that draws a connection between driver inattention - most likely due to some piece of high-tech equipment in the car - to a rash of accidents. Fully half of all accidents can be attributed in some way to these modern distractions, the report said.Unfortunately, the news hasn't filtered down to the marketplace yet. Some companies are proudly offering to mount laptop computers right next to the steering wheel. Most cars have warning signals known affectionately as "idiot lights." Perhaps now they should include a special outside light that informs other drivers when a high-tech idiot is approaching.

Loser: The University of Utah will have a 270-pound void in the backfield next year because of the decision by running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala's decision to bypass his his senior year to become eligible for this spring's NFL Draft. Fuamatu-Ma'fala also loses the opportunity to complete his education courtesy of an athletic scholarship. As chronicled recently in the Deseret News, former Ute basketball player Billy McGill found out too late that a degree is more important than athletic skills. We hope Ma'afala will have success in the NFL, but we also hope he will make it a priority to complete his degree in the off-season.

* Winner: The residents of Davis County are using county libraries more and more. The libraries report an increase in usage every year since 1988 with the increase in 1997 being almost 10 percent. That's a healthy trend. With all the distractions in today's modern era it's commendable that reading and overall information gathering is on the upswing in Davis County.

Winner? Loser? That depends on the point of view in this fish tail. A trawler was fishing off of Norway's southern coast when it made a huge catch of a school of herring. Before the crew could haul the net on board, however, the fish swam for the bottom. Their collective force was enough to capsize the 63-foot boat before fishermen were able to cut the net loose. Crew members were rescued by another trawler. They may have decided to have pizza for dinner.