• Sep 15, 2006
Yesterday, in a ceremony in Oakland, California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that would make driving while operating a mobile phone illegal on California roadways. The Golden State is now the fifth state to enact such a restriction and in doing so, ended a four-year long struggle, spearheaded by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. Simitian maintains that mobile phone usage while driving is the number one cause of crashes in California, while opponents of the law believe that distracted drivers, in general, are to blame.
The law will take effect January 1, 2008, imposing a $20 fine for the first offense and a $50 penalty for subsequent infractions, with no adverse affects on the driver's insurance. Motorists using hands-free devices will be exempt from the law.

[Source: San Jose Mercury News]


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  • 69 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      >"In what way? Give me one benefit to society of
      >allowing people to yak on the phone when they drive."

      Is this how some people justify everything remotely questionable? What its "benefit to society" is? This sounds like the "we got along just fine without cell phones 20 years ago" argument with a different skin.

      I talk to my girlfriend during the long drive home from work because she lives 700 miles away and I rarely get to see her, and I use a Bluetooth hands-free device when I do it. (I also have a manual transmission, so it's not exactly feasible to use the handset.) What's the "benefit to society" of me talking to my girlfriend? ABSOLUTELY NONE. Well, I guess I should cease and desist since I'm not being a good little villager.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #32 That's right dude, think of yourself first, no one else matters.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ryan (and others), I agree that, to be truly effective, a law like this has to cover phone use *period*, and not exempt hands-free devices. But hell, it's better than nothing. Especially since some of the worst cell-phone driving I've seen has been people actually *texting* at the wheel. You can't do that with a hands-free.

      And although there will always be idiots who are too self-important to obey the law, that isn't much of an argument against this legislation. Robbery happens, too, but I don't think we should stop punishing it.

      By the way, for those who feel that hands-free devices make their cell phone use safe, frankly, you're deluding yourselves. Such conversations are far different than talking to a passenger in the vehicle, because the person on the line can't see the road or react to traffic conditions. Passengers stop jabbering at you when situations get dicey. They talk about the traffic itself. They also occasionally warn you of things you haven't seen yet. The person on the other end of the phone has no idea whether you're driving alone on a straight road or swerving back and forth at 80 MPH.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The use of Cell Phones while driving should be banned. Period. Even the use of hands-free set's should be illegal.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a CA resident I approve also. I live in the Bay Area and I'll tell you - sometimes it seems like as much as 70%+ of drivers are on their cell and driving like they have their head in a bag. I have had numerous cases where I very narrowly avoided being hit by a cell user.

      In my experience, having the phone hands-free doesn't make any difference. I've never understood why it's any worse than having a passenger in the vehicle that you're talking to, but I have noticed that hands-free drivers are every bit as distracted as those with the phone on their ear. Even hands-free dialing isn't any better, because half the time it doesn't work right and that's its own distraction.

      Like Bruce Lee, I think it should be extended to all the other stupid things while driving.

      Part of the logic of allowing hands-free may be that it's much harder for an officer to tell a person is on a hands-free call. I have an integrated phone in my car (that I don't use), and if I did use it, there would be no way at all to tell from outside the vehicle whether I'm on the phone or simply talking to myself.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good points.. I totally wanna bring down all the people who are constantly yapping. Some of them even use the cell phone to distract themselves from the road because they are "bored," which just means they aren't driving correctly. But what about those of us who occasionally have a legitimate need to use the phone while driving, like, say, getting directions to someone's house while on the road or figuring out where to meet? My celly doesn't have bluetooth, surely short and legit conversations which are carried out responsibly should not become illegal until I shell out $150 for new equipment.

      I can't think of any easy way to only go after people who deserve it (short of listening in on their conversations, which would be hilarious for police). The fairest way I can think is to make the fines $20/$200/$2000, etc, so only the repeat offenders feel the damage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      $20 and $50?? That's a joke...should be more like $200 and $500
      • 8 Years Ago
      Coming from New York (who was the first state to invoke this law, if I remember correctly) and now living in California, I'm more than ready for this to go into effect. All major metro areas would do well to have ordinances of this type, whether it's a statewide law or not.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Somebody get the NMA ready for a court challenge

      http://www.motorists.org/issues/cellphones/policy.html

      • 8 Years Ago
      i used to be totally against the ban on using cell phones while driving ...or is it driving while using a cell phone :) ... but now i entirely support this. just noticing how distracted i used to be when i was on my phone made me cringe and realize how wrong i was.

      i have to agree with others on here (sorry Ryan!) that hands-free driving is much safer though, just from personal experience. because i use the bluetooth feature in my car to make and receive all my calls, i never even take out my phone while in the car and i would equate it to listening to the radio (especially since the caller's voice DOES come out through my speakers).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Any takers this goes into 500+ comments?~!

      I got $5 on it!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Those of us whom ride motorcycles are very pleased with this. One of the scariest things is to be close to someone in a car that is talking on a phone. Good job CA - this should be national. The penalty ought to be in the $200 - $300 though, I don't think $20-$50 is much of a deterrent.
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