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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 TechGuyCalifornia on 9/25/2008 7:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Cellphones should be banned while driving period. Here are my thoughts on the regulations although they are contradictory to other functions in the car.

1. No holding of a cellphone in a car is allowed for any reason unless you are stopped on the side of the road in a safe area.
2. Texting on phones should be stopped totally, the regulators should force cellphone companies to turn it off immediately. If you need to contact someone, CALL THEM!!!. Stop being unsociable and lazy, just CALL THEM if you need to contact them. It's a phone!
3. Any other functions inside the car should be stopped as well; such as applying make-up while driving, eating, rubbernecking, kissing, adjusting radio, mp3 player manipulation, drinking etc. These actions can also prove to be very dangerous as well. I think violations should be given out to people that are committing these actions as well.
4. The fines should be higher! This stupid $25 for the first offense is rediculous, make it $125!! and then $500 for the second offense. People can die out there if you are looking at your damn phone!!
5. How are they going to ban texting while driving! Are your texts monitored? NO is the correct answer, they are not! If you can't hold your phone, why is the governor making a new law! This is stupid, they should have made an ammendment to the current law, which obviously points to NOT holding your F'ing phone!

I am fine with not holding my phone of even using it while driving!! I am discusted with the overall texting anyway as the kids, adults, etc are texting eachother because it is too personal to just damn well call someone. LAME is the word. This law is stupid, just ammend the current law. It is obvious that these NON-Techies are not understanding how it works.

I see people texting really low so that nobody sees them which is now getting very dangerous as the attention and the peripheral field of view is now very limited if your looking further down. This law now makes it even more dangerous for drivers as they are trying to avoid violations.

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