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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: Phone companies
By codeThug on 9/25/2008 11:49:58 AM , Rating: 2
+10


RE: Phone companies
By Meaker10 on 9/25/2008 12:08:51 PM , Rating: 1
"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."

They were behind that ban, and I think there are quite a few hands free calling kits out there.

Try reading the article next time.


RE: Phone companies
By Oregonian2 on 9/25/2008 1:54:51 PM , Rating: 2
Does California actually ban holding a cell phone or is it holding a cell phone while making a phone call?

Taking out a phone containing a dead-as-a-doornail battery out of one's shirt pocket in order to pass it to the passenger who is going to hook it to the charger is illegal in California?


RE: Phone companies
By TowedJumper on 9/25/2008 3:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
From the DMV.CA.GOV website....
http://www.dmv.ca.gov/cellularphonelaws/index.htm
See the Drivers 18 and over section for this FAQ entry.

Q: Does the new “hands-free” law prohibit you from dialing a wireless telephone while driving or just talking on it?
A: The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.

So, holding your phone is not illegal, and I bet you could get away with calling "texting" "dialing" as they both use the same keys although I wouldn't want to be the one to put that in front of jury with my butt on the line. There is a FAQ entry just a bit down that says an police officer can pull you over if he/she feels you are not driving safely however, regardless of you holding the phone or not.

I bet this is why Arnie is submitting this for law, to close the loophole.


RE: Phone companies
By Oregonian2 on 9/25/2008 6:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
To tell the truth I never caught on to texting, especially with a cell phone where I could just call and talk to whomever (and with voice recognition I can call say "call xxxxx" where xxxxx is anybody in the phone's number list (recognition works amazingly well too)). But then I'm not someone trying to "talk" privately amongst grownups around me.

:-)

Could argue that I'm "texting" now (although my long-spelling doesn't confirm that) but it's not on a phone. :-)


RE: Phone companies
By LivingDedBoy on 9/25/2008 1:55:19 PM , Rating: 3
The article is about Texting and driving.


RE: Phone companies
By jimbojimbo on 9/25/2008 3:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
When I was reading the article I thought this new law is absolutely pointless unless people have been texting with their phone on their lap or something. I pretty much have to hold my cell phone to text on it which is illegal as of July 1st anyway.


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