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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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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
quote:
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.

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/older_driver/older_fact...


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
quote:
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
quote:
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.


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