Sacramento, California (WiredPRNews.com) — California has taken notice of the hazards of driving and talking on cell phones and on Tuesday, lawmakers will be ready to tell drivers “hang up and drive, dude!”
According to a recent article from Reuters, at least eleven states (including Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, and New Jersey) have either already passed a law banning the use of cellular phones while operating a vehicle or are in the process of passing the law. On Tuesday, the Sunshine State will adopt its own cell phone ban for drivers and will now require anyone behind the wheel to use a hands-free headset if they wish to be on the phone while cruising down the road.
The report states, “Californians interviewed by Reuters mostly supported the law requiring hands-free phones in cars and outlawing cell phones entirely for drivers under 18, which takes effect on Tuesday — though they were puzzled by a loophole that allows seemingly more dangerous text messaging.”
Although the new law will aid in much of the cell phone-induced traffic accidents that tie up rush hour, some still feel that there has not been enough done to accommodate the increasingly crowded roadways and that hands-free sets will not fix the situation are not that much safer. KFI-AM radio talk-show host John Kobylt told Reuters that he is astonished that Californians are putting up with lawmakers who are being finicky and pushing their weight around. He claims that studies have shown that having a conversation on the phone is more distracting than holding the phone itself.
State Sen. Joe Simitian authored the bill and couldn’t disagree more with Kobylt declaring that keeping drivers off of the phone is much safer and the new bill will save hundreds of lives. “There are more and more people out there on the highway and the CHP (California Highway Patrol) has collected data every year showing that cell phones are the number one cause of distracted drivers,” Simitian said.
Fines for offenses do not seem hefty but for those who like to dial and drive, they will add up. A first-time offender will pay $20 plus additional fees and $50 for each offense after that.
Wired News Reporter