California Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB1613 today in a ceremony today. The bill makes it illegal to use a mobile phone while driving unless the driver is using a handsfree device. This bill, which becomes effective July 1, 2008, mandates fines of $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. The California Bicycle Coalition was credited for being influential in this bills passage.
In the U.S., New York is currently the only state banning cellphone use while driving, with the District of Columbia also restricting mobile phone use. In Canada, cellphone use while driving is illegal in Newfoundland and Labrador. Around the world, the list of nations banning driver mobile phone use includes Australia, Brazil, Israel, Italy, Japan, Spain and the United Kingdom.
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Well, isn't this a typical Arnie move--all show, no substance. All cell phone use is distracting, and studies show hands-free phones are no different. We can do plenty of things with our hands while driving, like eat a cheeseburger, without being particularly impaired, but the distraction of a cell phone is emotional, not physical.
Imagine that you're in a car with a friend, chatting along, and a troll jumps in front of your car to car-jack you and the other billy goats gruff. Now, both you and your friend react, cutting off conversation to confront the troll and try and convince him to take the biggest billy goat gruff.
Now picture the same scenario, except your friend isn't in the car with you, he's on the other end of a poor cell phone connection. As the troll leaps out, your friend continues chatting away, and as you try to divide your attention the troll yanks you out of the car to grind your bones to make his bread.
If you had a hand-held phone, you might stand a chance since you'd probably toss the phone to deal with the troll issue. With a hands-free phone your friend will be adding to the confusion, screeching, "What's going on over there, and where are you anyway?", which is the gist of most cell-phone conversations. Now it's too late, your bones are bread.
One study done by the University of Utah showed that cell-phone users have the reaction time of 72-year-old drivers, hands-free or not. How they quantified the reaction time of AARP members I don't know, but that was their conclusion.
Pay attention to the road when driving, not your social calendar. Happy Trails, Ron Georg Moab, Utah
Yep. DWC, drivin' while cellin', oughta be a real crime, like DUI. Cellers are just as impaired as drunks. You can do your part to stop DWC. Refuse to take their calls. You might actually save someone's life. Mine.