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Texting on the road -- it won't "be back"

Everyone knows that text messaging while driving can be dangerously distracting.  A recent study revealed that texting is more dangerous to driving than drugs or alcohol.  Still many are fighting proposed legislation to ban texting while driving, complaining that it violates freedom and would limit options in an emergency.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken a hard stance on texting while driving.  He championed and passed a ban on cell phone texting, which will go into effect January 1.  Offending motorists will pay $20 on their first violation, and $50 for each subsequent violation.  Gov. Schwarzenegger was pleased to push through the bill by California's Tuesday legislative deadline.

He hopes that the new bill will help dissuade drivers from using their cell phones when driving.  He states, "Banning electronic text messaging while driving will keep drivers' hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making our roadways a safer place for all Californians."

Following the September 12 collision between a Metrolink passenger train and a freight train, which killed 25 people and injured 135, and was possibly caused by railroad engineer texting, the California Public Utilities Commission has banned some railroad workers from texting on the job.

California also passed a ban on holding cell phones while driving, which took effect July 1.  The law only allows drivers to use hands-free headsets while driving.  Insurers, bicyclists and, interestingly, cell phone companies supported both bills.

Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who wrote the new law, SB 28, and worked closely with Schwarzenegger states, "When somebody's distracted it puts not just the driver at risk but everybody else in the car and everybody else on the highway."

For those who think Gov. Schwarzenegger and California's traffic agency are joking about the ban, they might want to consider the figures on the recent ban on holding cell phones.  According to Tom Marshall, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, California state officers issued 19,753 citations to motorists.  This is in addition to the thousands more issued by local police departments.  While less drivers are stopped for the offense then speeding, the numbers add up Marshall said.  He states, "Why everybody isn't hands-free now, I have no idea."

Many states are considering similar laws, or already have such laws in place.  However, with the bipartisan leadership of the nation's most populous state taking a high-profile stand against text-and-drive, the new legislation may spread throughout the nation.

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By MrDiSante on 9/25/2008 10:47:03 AM , Rating: 5
Now if only Ontario would pass such laws there'd be no end to my joy. You can't imagine how much I hate driving with teenagers or oh-so-important business types yapping away on their cellphones, not staying in their damn lanes, not signaling turns and in general engaging in risky behaviour.

I'll take a driver fresh from his driving test over one of those any day.

RE: Good.
By VashHT on 9/25/2008 10:50:48 AM , Rating: 5
Don't pin it on teenagers completely, every day I see the majority of people driving while on their cellphones when I'm going to and from work. There are a ton of older people that do it, it's stupid to pretend like its only "those damn kids".

On a side note I wish they'd do that in Illinois, I watched a women text right through a stop sign the other week, she just drove straight through it while texting on her phone.

RE: Good.
By MrSmurf on 9/25/2008 11:13:44 AM , Rating: 4
90% of teensagers are bad drivers. They're cocky, inexperienced and don't usually pay attention. We all were at that age. But we all know where the real blame goes; the stupid ass train engineer.

RE: Good.
By omnicronx on 9/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: Good.
By SeeManRun on 9/25/2008 12:03:24 PM , Rating: 5
And yet drivers 15-20 years old only account for 12% of all fatal crashes and 16% of crashes in general.

Considering you can drive up until you're 90 (or more) then having a 5 year window of drivers causing 16% of all crashes, it obvious they get in too many crashes. Not to mention people in that age range probably drive fewer miles a year than someone outside the range (until you hit say 55 years old).

RE: Good.
By monomer on 9/25/2008 1:33:32 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a link to some statistics showing Driver fatalities by age. It's for a study of older drivers, but it certainly doesn't show teenage drivers in a good light.

RE: Good.
By tastyratz on 9/25/2008 2:17:51 PM , Rating: 4
That just goes on to prove my ongoing point.

Drivers above a certain age should be required to take a driving "re certification" test by state mandate.

Don't complain that we take away their freedom, because they take away our life. There are so many times I see hazards in the road and to no surprise its an elderly person behind the wheel.

Young or old being incapable of driving should result in a lack of having their license for everyone's safety... period.
Its controversial because its considered age discrimination.
I don't think we should take everyone's license at 65, but I think we should take some.
Its a known fact that mental capacity and reflexes decay as you reach an older age. If you cant keep up get the F off the road.

At the very least require proof of a recent eye exam for god sakes (and really that goes for any age. I've known so many people who drive without glasses who really need them)

But I guess we wont ever see that since the congress that votes things in is all old people.

RE: Good.
By LordanSS on 9/25/2008 7:15:21 PM , Rating: 5
Here in Brazil, every driving license is good for "5 years". After that period has passed, the driver has to go through a series of exams.

The exams the driver has to take vary. Every time you commit an infraction, you rack up "infraction points". The more severe the infraction, the more points you gain, being 7 the most. If you rack up 30 points, I believe, in the period of a year, you lose your driving license, and have to go through the whole "driving school" process again. If you never commited an infraction, on your first renewal you usually only have to do a health check (vision, etc), which isn't too bad. As time passes, you have to take other tests to be able to renew your license (first aid, laws of the road, defensive driving, etc).

Driving while talking on a cell phone, if I am not mistaken, is worth about 5 points... And alcohol is completely banned. An amount equal to about two longneck bottles of beer equals jailtime.

RE: Good.
By rbfowler9lfc on 9/25/2008 11:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
If only the driving lessons weren't so insufficient. 15 hours of low-speed city driving, a parallel parking test and bingo, you're ready to go! No road driving lessons, no night driving lessons, even blind men were granted licenses at times.

RE: Good.
By tastyratz on 9/26/2008 9:36:24 AM , Rating: 3
Here in the USA They require people attend a drivers education course when they are under a certain age. They then get a permit to drive with someone else for the first 6 months and then they can take a license test. After that its just money in the mail from time to time.
The course is not required and neither is the permit if you wait to get your license for a few years. Did I miss the boat where people learn to drive through osmosis if they are older?

We coddle our people too much because its more "inconvenient" for someone to not have a license when they are older.

The drivers education course we have now for students is a joke. You learn what color a stop sign is and that drugs are bad - other than that your not really prepared.

What we NEED are REAL experience requirements for drivers who first get their license... at ANY age. New drivers should absolutely be required to take an extreme course - One where they learn how to handle a car in emergency situations as accident avoidance. Any dummy can learn how to drive in a straight line or use their blinker... Its experience and knowhow at the edge that can determine life or death in a situation.

I live in New England where we can get some nasty snowstorms in the winter - the smartest thing I ever did was start going to blow donuts in a parking lot every first snowfall. It teaches excellent low traction car control.

RE: Good.
By Spivonious on 9/26/2008 9:58:09 AM , Rating: 3
Here in the USA They require people attend a drivers education course when they are under a certain age. They then get a permit to drive with someone else for the first 6 months and then they can take a license test. After that its just money in the mail from time to time.

Each state does it differently. In PA, there's short written test and an eye exam to get a permit. This permit is good for a year. You must have 50 hours of driving time signed off on by a parent before you can take your road exam. The road exam consists of driving around the block and parallel parking. If you pass, then you get your junior license. This lets you drive alone between the hours of 6AM and 10PM. Once you turn 18, you can get a full license which has no restrictions. They expire every 5 years, at which time it is simply sending money and getting a photo taken to renew.

RE: Good.
By rbfowler9lfc on 9/26/2008 12:15:34 PM , Rating: 3
I live in New England where we can get some nasty snowstorms in the winter - the smartest thing I ever did was start going to blow donuts in a parking lot every first snowfall. It teaches excellent low traction car control.

Yes, absolutely correct, practice makes perfect.

Can you trust someone with only 15hrs driving experience to be a full-blown driver? With no road driving experience?

Something is very, very wrong with the Brazilian driving license system. That's the reason Brazil spots more deaths/yr than USA, despite having 1/10th of the US' fleet size.

RE: Good.
By rudolphna on 9/25/2008 3:27:00 PM , Rating: 2
but they still have the overall highest percentage of all other age groups. Especially Males under 25. Which is why their insurance is sky high.

RE: Good.
By 67STANG on 9/25/2008 5:04:34 PM , Rating: 5
It should be illegal to charge different rates based on gender, as that is discrimination. I'm 28 and have never had an accident. My wife, who's 29, has had 3 (not to mention countless speeding tickets).

I hate to get started on a "sexist" rant, but I've notice the most impatient drivers in the world are women. The go into turn lanes to go around people making left turns, they pull out in front of people so they don't have to wait as long and they younger women are almost always preoccupied with other things while driving. In fact, I'd say 9 our of 10 times that I've been cut off or had someone pull out in front of me, it's been women.

Surely this can't just be me or where I live. I am actually quite interested to see if anyone else has noticed the same thing...

RE: Good.
By FITCamaro on 9/25/2008 7:06:58 PM , Rating: 4
I'm with you man. Even now that I'm over 25, I still pay more than women. Even those who've been in accidents and/or had tickets.

It's f*cking ridiculous. Just remember. Discrimination is always wrong unless its against whites and men.

RE: Good.
By Spivonious on 9/26/2008 10:02:09 AM , Rating: 4
I was stopped at a red light the other day. The car behind me was stopped as well. All of a sudden - BAM - the car behind me hits me. We pull over, I get out, no damage of course. An early 20s girl wearing designer sunglasses gets out of her monstrous SUV and says "oh, I thought we were moving." THE LIGHT WAS STILL RED!!

RE: Good.
By amanojaku on 9/28/2008 12:53:50 AM , Rating: 4
Did you inspect her bumper? ;-)

RE: Good.
By The0ne on 9/25/2008 4:37:22 PM , Rating: 2
My experience has been mainly with adults and not teenagers. Working in a high class community only makes things worse and the stereotype even stronger. You have your typical soccer mom, your working class mom, your grocery shopping mom, etc. And I'm pointing at females because most of these drivers have babies with them and the men are at work. You can pretty much forget about the rules of driving here. If you don't pay attention you will get hit because most are not paying attention to what they are doing, less the driving.

As far as teenagers, it's just how they are. I have 3 nephews attending college now. They're not bad drivers per say but they just really don't care how they drive. They get in, put the pedal to the floor and drive off. Too many factors with teenagers. But with Moms with babies and young kids, there's no excuse whatsoever. If one loses her kid because of her ignorance and stupidity I'm going to burst out laughing for sure.

RE: Good.
By FaceMaster on 9/28/2008 10:21:49 AM , Rating: 2
I think you're just sour that you're no longer that age.

RE: Good.
By FITCamaro on 9/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: Good.
By DeepBlue1975 on 9/25/2008 3:19:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm addicted to texting.

Yet, I've never ever texted while driving, and never ever would. Just because it's plain stupid.

I have a bluetooth hands free installed on my car, so I can be called hassle free. But if anyone texts me while I'm driving, that person will have to wait till my trip finishes, or if I'm in the mood and in a quiet street, I could just stop the car in a non offensive spot and answer the damn thing.

Anyway I have distinctive ringing tones for my contacts, even for text messages (had to buy a little app called "messagetones" for that. It's great and works really nice on symbian phones), and if I know it is someone I want to answer to right away, I might just use the hands free to make a voice call.

Bluetooth kits for phones are pretty cheap, and phones with voice dialing capability are ubiquitously available so that you can still use your phone.

Even the most advanced kits allow the device to read the text messages out loud through your car's speakers...

So, no excuse to be an idiot. If you have several thousands to buy a car, you have at the very most a couple of hundreds to make your car a nice hands free host for your cell phone.

RE: Good.
By Aloonatic on 9/25/2008 5:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
You raise some good points, especially the Bluetooth hands-free car kits.

Why they are not a standard required by law like seat belts I really don't know?

Bluetooth has been around for ages after all.

Cassette tape players were still standard in most cars until very recently however so it is clear that the manufacturers do as much as possible to resist change and will not be keen to add extra "unnecessary" features as standard on all ranges unless they are compelled by law.

Especially the way the worlds economies are going.

I think that time has come that changes need to be made.

By the way, is it usual for mobile phones to come with a (wired) hands-free kit as it is over here in the UK? Every new phone I have seen for a while now comes with a set of headphones with a built in microphone and button to accept incoming calls.

RE: Good.
By G2cool on 9/26/2008 3:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
Soon the in car Wi-Fi will be standard and this conversation will be about laws against WoW while driving...

RE: Good.
By MrDiSante on 9/25/2008 12:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying it's only teenagers: I explicitly mentioned businessmen/women as well; moreover I explicitly said that I'd take a driver fresh from his/her road test (most likely a teenager) over a texter.

Furthermore, I'm sticking by my guns: in my experience it is predominantly younger drivers (teenagers was imprecise, under 23 I'd say) and business types who can't keep their eyes off their damn blackberries.

That being said, it doesn't matter who it is, if they're texting+driving their license should be revoked on the 3rd violation.

RE: Good.
By omnicronx on 9/25/2008 11:35:18 AM , Rating: 2
Do you really think this law that arnold put in place means anything? The reason many states and provinces are not putting such a law in place, is because it already falls under the dangerous driving laws. A 25 to 50 dollar fine is hardly enough to stop drivers, in fact it may only make it worse, now you will have people trying to hide their phones while they text.

What I think they should do, which is what ontario was proposing is that anyone under the age of 21 that does not have a full G license (we have a 3 tier system) should not be able to use their cell phones while driving, or they get their license suspended for say 30 days for the first offense, and up to a year on the second offense.

RE: Good.
By napalmjack on 9/25/2008 11:39:07 AM , Rating: 5
It's $25 for the first, $50 for the second, or you can go for the new unlimited plan for $199 a month...

RE: Good.
By Risforrocket on 9/26/2008 2:06:04 AM , Rating: 2
Oh man, I busted out on that.

RE: Good.
By Zoomer on 9/27/2008 7:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why not have fines that actually bite? These fines don't serve as a deterrant.

$250 for your first offense + 3 pts, $500 for the second + 6 pts, $1500 for subsequent offenses + pts.

RE: Good.
By GreenEnvt on 9/25/2008 12:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Now, add on the perspective of being on a motorcycle (in Ontario too, but elsewhere as well). You have all those problems, plus now you are contstantly on the lookout for some car changing lanes into you, turning into your path, hitting you from behind, or cutting a corner and tossing gravel all over it.

RE: Good.
By gamerk2 on 9/25/2008 1:02:59 PM , Rating: 2
Here on long island, if you stop at a stop sign, you get rear ended. Most people just accelerate through them now (no slowdown at all).

Until people are put in jail for being idiots, it won't be enough.

RE: Good.
By Spivonious on 9/26/2008 10:09:38 AM , Rating: 2
Remind me never to go to Long Island. Geez.

RE: Good.
By johnadams on 9/25/2008 1:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
Texting is proven to be as dangerous as drinking while driving. People who text while on the road show no regard to their own and more importantly other road users' safety.

This is a good move by Arnie. All the other states should follow suit and ban this poor regard for road safety.

I believe this is an attitude issue that cuts across the age, sex, religion or race demographics. Then again, the younger crowd might do it more because of their lack of maturity and shortsightedness when weighing their actions.

We need more road safety campaigns to educate future road users. With that $700B mother of all bailouts, budget for safety campaigns may get cut and this could affect the quality and safety of road users in the future.

RE: Good.
By johnadams on 9/25/2008 1:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
"drinking while driving"

I meant "driving under the influence".

RE: Good.
By Myrandex on 9/25/2008 3:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
In Ohio texting while driving isn't needed as an excuse not to drive. Everyone has to show off their particularly common form of retardation by not signalling when turning. Half the time when I see someone signal I think it is an accident and they actually aren't turning. I almost got into a wreck the other day because of this. His signal was own, and he wasn't driving fast, so it looked like he was turning onto the road I was pulling out of...but I guessed wrong. He was actually going straight and just wanted to fake me out! He continued going straight for a couple of miles (with his stupid signal on) and then I turned off the road to get onto the highway.


RE: Good.
By NullSubroutine on 9/26/2008 6:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, think maybe teenagers are the 'worst' drivers because they are the most inexperienced. If you were to set driver age requirement to be 30 years old, that would be the worst drivers (besides maybe elderly that are 100+ years old).

No matter what age you are going to start (beyond toddlers) they are going to be the most inexperienced and be in the most accidents. You also have to consider the amount of driving time these teens also do.

Where I am from, all the kids who were 'farm kids' or even town kids who helped out on a farm were better drivers than any other teens, because they had been operating motor vehicles for quite a few years before they got their driver license.

RE: Good.
By ShaolinSoccer on 9/26/2008 7:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
I once read an article about the human brain that said something about the area of the brain that controls common sense doesn't fully develop in most people until the age of 25. I don't know if the article was true but if it is, it would explain why most teenagers tend to do stupid things now and then.

RE: Good.
By NullSubroutine on 9/27/2008 1:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
I would say it would have to do with puberty and a crap tone of horomones. In my line of work people of all ages have no common sense (911/dispatching), I see stupid people of all ages and they are too easy to come by.

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