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Oh, thank you California Lawmakers! Its about time this came down the pipeline and goes into effect without a grace period! There are two (02) new laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving which go into effect 2008 July 01, Tuesday here in California. These new laws apply to everyone driving within the State of California...
The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a "hands-free device." Drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).
I will feel "just a little bit safer" knowing that these laws are going into effect. I wonder how much road rage is caused by cell phone users? I know I've been cut off, slowed down, ignored, etc. by those driving and chatting on their cell phones. I don't do it so I can talk trash right now. I'll pull over if I have to use the phone for an extended period. If not, I just won't use it. Its not worth the risk. I'm an excellent driver but I'll admit that talking on the cell phone interferes with my driving focus, that is not good, especially here in Southern California.
So, let it be proven that you caused an accident while on your cell phone. The penalties and after effects are pretty severe these days. And, if you are under 18 and did that, you're in big trouble! So, save the damn chatting for those times when you are not behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound automobile and placing those around you at risk. I'm serious...
Maybe this will spur an idea for a device that restricts access on your phone when "it" is moving at a certain speed. :)
Law, okay. Enforcement, better.
I will feel "just a little bit safer" knowing that these laws are going into effect.
But all snarkiness aside, I do agree it's an excellent step in the right direction and will be more than happy to see it followed by the rest of the states (and other countries). It's one thing to be tangling with one of those idiots while inside your own 3,000-pound auto. It's quite another to do the tangling on a sub-30 pound bicycle.
So, let it be proven that you caused an accident while on your cell phone.
But some problems I see:
1) Proving that the person was actually talking during that time.
- Not sure if the records show any difference between a call in progress or the calling person leaving a voice mail.
- The records can't prove that it was the driver using the cell phone and not a passenger.
2) Proving the person was holding the phone instead of using a hands-free setup.
In most cases, without any other witnesses, it's going to come down to he-said/she-said issue.
Also, looking at the law again, I am finding that its teeth are rather blunt: $20 for first offense, $50 for subsequent offenses, but no points on the person's DMV record.
But I suppose it's better than nothing for a start. I just hope that tougher laws (and enforcement) will be enacted in the future before too many other people die/get hurt.
[edited by: LifeinAsia at 6:04 pm (utc) on June 17, 2008]
I will feel "just a little bit safer" knowing that these laws are going into effect. I wonder how much road rage is caused by cell phone users?
My niece was on business in London last week and while in a taxi traveling back to the airport they were rammed from behind by a woman who was talking on the phone. As many of you will know London cabs have seats facing the rear so my niece actually saw it coming and witnessed the woman on the phone.
The problem is that it is not enforced here in the UK. I see it all the time while I am driving so the cops must be able to see it too. All it would take would be a purge (which could be self financing) to put a stop to most of it.
I will admit that I used to do it myself occasionally before it became illegal and I knew it was seriously affecting my concentration and ability to make quick decisions. Personally I think talking on a phone while driving is much worse than minor DUI offences in a lot of cases.
Oh wait, isn't that called driving without due care and attention, and hasn't it been on the books FOREVER?
This is a stupid law and a waste of time and money. If someone is driving dangerously they should be pulled over and given a ticket, if it happens enough times then no more license..... if someone is driving with care and caution then on the phone or not leave them alone and don't make law abiding citizens into law breakers with stupid crap like this.
Just because some people can barely drive and are even worse when on the phone don't pass freedom restricting laws telling me I am not capable of doing something properly. Maybe you aren't.. I am.
How about tougher driving tests? How about required/govt supplied driver training? How about better roads and infrastructure.... naw... why do that when we can pass a crappy law that will change nothing and that law makers can point to like they are actually doing something to solve traffic accidents when really they have done nothing.
[edited by: Demaestro at 1:14 am (utc) on June 18, 2008]
But... the politicians singled out the hand-on cell phone use anyway.
The study also found that cell phone conversations impaired drivers at about the same level as having a .08 blood alcohol level, which is a DUI in most, if not all, states. (Granted, for the cell phone caller, the impairment ends with the phone call, which is not the case for the drunken driver. And most drivers nailed for DUI blow over a .08.)
So, at the moment of the call, you've got three drivers, all with the same level of functional impairment. The driver with the .08 gets a night in jail and a massive fine. The driver with the hands-on cell phone gets a ticket. The driver with the hands-free unit gets... nothing. Gotta love the legal system.
If they want this law then they should ban eating... drinking any liquid of any kind... operating your radio... CB radios... satellite radio devices... operating fare meters in cabs... operating computers in police vehicles... operating GPS... doing make-up... shaving... fighting with a spouse... having no hand on your steering wheel... and so on...
Each small step is a move in the right direction. I avoid driving as much as I can these days as it presents a level of risk I don't need to take at this point in my life. Many of the things you mention above will hopefully come into play at some point. Putting on makeup and/or shaving have probably got to be more disruptive than the cell phone as you're taking your eyes off the road for extended periods of time and usually have another obstruction within your windshield view (the visor with mirror) which is not good.
I'm all for cell phone laws, I really am. There are two sides to this story. Yes, there are those who think they can manage their automobile while multi-tasking, that's great. You don't do that here in California without some level of risking your life. So you think you can multi-task at 50 mph in the fast lane when traffic just came to a dead stop right in front of you, good luck. If you can keep your focus while paying attention to your 360 surroundings, go right ahead. If you rear-end me and I see it coming and you were on the phone, I hope you're a lot bigger than me cause I'm not going to be real happy about the outcome. That is if I'm still alive.
When we have hands-free driving, then you can do whatever you want. Until then, focus needs to remain on the task at hand. Is that cell phone call that important? If so, pull off the road and focus on the phone call. If you call me while you are driving, I'm going to give you about 10 seconds of my time and let you know to call me back when you are on a land line or are stationary.
I'll be damned if I want to be the one talking to you when you die. That would haunt me for the rest of my life.
In fact, there was no statistical difference between using a hands-free or hands-on cell phone.
Hmmm, tell that to the driver who just changed lanes and didn't use their turn signal. Why? Because they had the damn phone in the hand that would have been used to turn the signal on. And then that same person decides to use sign language to let "you know" that "you" were wrong. Go figure. You just cut me off and didn't signal for a lane change. I want to let you know you were wrong but instead you're flipping me the bird. Driving presents too much risk.
I still love every minute behind the wheel. And, I'm the person that is going to look at you while you're on the phone and if your window is down, I'll be letting you know my thoughts about your lack of driving focus. I've done it quite a few times. Yes, I know, driving presents risk. :)
Just because some people can barely drive and are even worse when on the phone don't pass freedom restricting laws telling me I am not capable of doing something properly. Maybe you aren't.. I am
Yes? You will also be the guy who can drive just as effectively after ten beers then?
Forgive me for raising the temperature but your argument is indefensible. How can someone control a car as "effectively" with one hand as with two? I don't need research to argue this case. I certainly cannot do it and I have already admitted to trying.
As someone has already pointed out in a situation where you have to think quickly and you need two hands you are endangering other road users if you are using a phone. Try doing an emergency stop with one hand on the wheel.
If you have a phone in your hand when an emergency situation develops that requires you to make a decision you have three things to consider in a split second (consciously or unconsciously) ...
1. How do I get my other hand on the wheel when I have a phone on it?
2. Where shall I put my $200 phone while I am doing so. I mean I don't want to drop it and risk breaking it. Do I?
3. Oh and while I am considering the above, how do I do an emergency stop with one hand on the wheel?
SCREAAAAAM! BAAAAANG! (Too late.)
I think my earlier post about what happened to my niece in the London cab is a perfect example of what happens in these cases. She happened to be facing backwards and saw it all unfolding.
I am glad you have found your driving limitations and you can't drive with one hand.. again that is you though and not me. Since you are obviously a responsible adult and you know your limitations you act accordingly and drive with caution.
I too am a responsible adult who happens to be better at multitasking and yes I can drive well with one hand just as well as with two... as does my uncle who actually only has one arm. (do you think he shouldn't be allowed to drive? He does and does well)
This doesn't require law..
page1... I was giving that list to show the ridiculous nature of trying to pass a law for every stupid thing people do in their cars.. we have law dealing with driving with undue care and attention... why don't we enforce this one law instead of making up a bunch more that we continue to not enforce.... if you want to be safer on roads there are way more effective things lawmakers and government officials could be doing that would have a real effect.
To all of the readers who use cell phones while driving, here are the facts. It is safer to use hands-free communication, keep your conversations simple and short, expect to increase your accident likelihood by four times, don't expect to remember any specific information about things you pass on the road and keep in mind that your reaction time will decrease so follow other vehicles at a further distance. For everyone's safety when the phone rings pull over and then answer it.
Out of all the research I read, the above paragraph from one resource best summed it up for me. How many times have you missed an exit while on the cell phone? How many times have you not used your turn signal because your hand was occupied with a cell phone?
Quick, can you tell me what is around your vehicle at this very moment while you are moving at 70 mph talking on the cell phone? A full 360?
I refuse to let someone talk to me on the phone while they are driving. Again, you'll get a few seconds of my time and then I'm outta there. Call someone else and talk to them while you take your destiny into your own hands, whether it be hands-on or hands-free. Distractions and Driving do not mix.
The next law that needs to be passed is the sound within the vehicle itself. If it passes a certain decibel level, you get a moving violation and points. I don't understand how people can drive at "concert level" sound. And then, get on the phone and start yelling above the "concert level" sound so they can have a conversation. And, if you've not seen that, you haven't been to California. ;)
Stay tuned for Part II... Cell phone usage while at the checkout counter.
BDDU Driving drunk is a gross comparison to being on the phone.
No, it is not. As I have said, I consider it to be equally dangerous and eventually the law will too. That's why it is becoming the law in most civilised places. It's only in the last 20 or 25 years that the police have clamped down on DUI. They will do the same with phones but it will be sooner rather than later. A couple of kids will be run over and killed by drivers who were proven to be on the phone at the time and the campaigning will start.
I am a regular drinker and I have been for the last 40 years. I truly believe that I could drive better after drinking three pints of beer (over the limit here) than while making a phone call with or without a hands free kit. Have you tried arguing with someone while driving and still paying attention to the road?
I am not trying to condone drink driving. I don't do that, but I know within myself that my powers of concentration are greatly impaired if trying to hold a phone and concentrate on an important conversation while driving.
It's not about multi tasking. It's about the human brain's capabilities and if you think you can do it then all the evidence suggests that you are truly unique.
I am glad you have found your driving limitations and you can't drive with one hand.
A note of sarcasm there? Of course I can and do drive with one hand but not when there is a mobile phone in the other and a telephone call taking place.
Regarding P1R's comments above. It's not the first time I have missed a turning while talking to a passenger while driving. This tells it's own story and I do not consider myself to be unique.
What I still don't understand is why we need 1 law for every possible distraction that a person can have in a vehicle...
The suggestions of the "next law" are silly... again 1 law can cover this...
Driving without due care or attention.....
This is all we need and more is a waste of time and money.... under the above law if a police or citizen witnessed someone driving without due care and attention then they could be fined/punished.
It shouldn't matter if the cause of them not using care and attention is a cell phone.. a hamburger... makeup... a passenger.. that is a lot of laws when only one is needed.
That way when someone who is able to not miss turnoffs and is able to signal all while talking on the phone can go about their day not worrying about being prosecuted for using their phone.
If they really cared about being safe in cars they would get rid of drive through windows which to me is just asking to have people eat while driving... which I find to be even more dangerous then talking... even more so when you see them trying to dip their fires into a ketchup packet.
[edited by: Demaestro at 7:47 pm (utc) on June 23, 2008]