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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 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...


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