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Original post made
on Jan 3, 2013
If you can not put down the damn phone, stay away from the car. What's so important that it can't wait until you're done driving? Gawd knows most of the idiots out there can use every bit of concentration they have to avoid smashing into something or someone.
This new law about red light cameras misses the point. The problem is not that drivers haven't been sufficiently warned - they should always know they can be ticketed if driving unsafely. The real problem is that some of these greedy cities have recklessly lowered the yellow light timings to bring in more revenue. (Search for union city yellow light.) What we need is traffic engineers knowing that they'll go to prison if their timings cause a collision, just as they would if their negligence causes a building to collapse. The repercussions against Union City were way too mild; if that didn't violate criminal law, the law needs to be changed.
Independent verification of timings wouldn't hurt, and it's quite easy to do with a stopwatch. At a speed of 35 mph or higher, the yellow light must last at least 3.6 seconds. 40 mph, 3.9 seconds. 45 mph, 4.3 seconds. 25 mph or less, 3.0 seconds. That covers about all of Mountain View. If you see an intersection with less, raise hell!
Once again, I should read the actual source rather than trust the Mountain View Voice's summary. That bill does a lot more than what the Voice said - and I'm happy to see it mentions that an authority in charge of cameras must create guidelines "overseeing the establishment or change of signal phases and the timing thereof." I don't think that's strict enough, and I don't think the portion about warning drivers is necessary at all, but the bill seems to be generally progress at least.
Remember.. if you think driving while using a cell phone (talking or texting) is so dangerous.. please explain why the police are exempt from this law.
We outfit their cars with radios and computers. Why the need to use a phone while driving their patrol cars?
Want a good fix? Use the GPS feature of phones and program it to disable communications while the phone is in motion and moving faster than 10 mph (or slower than 150 mph, which would allow airline passengers to use their phones where allowed). Nobody would be able to use hands-on phones while driving, even if they want to. 911-type emergency calls would still be allowed to go through of course.
As far as the complaint of non-driving passengers having their phones disabled too, all I can say is "Oh well". Learn to live with it. You aren't allowed to drink alcohol as a passenger in a car either, even though you have nada to do with it's operation. It's the price of saving lives....sounds like a good trade-off to me.
To Otto Maddox:
How come you didn't point out communication devices of fire engines and ambulances too? If you called the police wanting them to arrive as soon as possible, wouldn't you want the police station to be able to contact and instruct officers of such ASAP?
There's a BIG difference between professionals with the role of protecting people's lives and regular folk making a business or pleasure call. Night and day. Apples vs. oranges. There's no comparison.
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