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Bill to curb texting behind the wheel moves ahead

Original post made on Aug 29, 2012

A proposal by state Sen. Joe Simitian to raise fines for drivers who text while behind the wheel passed through the state Senate Tuesday afternoon and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012, 10:43 AM

Comments (19)

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Posted by BUbba
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

The proposed fines for texting are way too low as texting causes accidents, mayhem and death. The first offense fine should be $100, second $500 and third $1,000 and one day in jail.

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Posted by Craig
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm

It should be the same as a DUI because it is, points, lawyers, traffic school or driving under the influence school, insurance hikes, the same as a DUI. I can't count the number of times I've almost had an accident because of some idiot talking on a cell or worse texting.

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Posted by cranky
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I wish Smitian would focus on more important matters than cell phone use and texting while driving! He probably thinks these are easy, relatively non-controversial bills to pass, but why doesn't he tackle something more meaningful like the state of education in CA?

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Posted by killer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Cell phone using drivers kill hundreds of people per year in the USA. This is an important law if it encourages more enforcement by the police. However, I agree that the fines are too low. Penalties must be big enough to seriously discourage this kind of reckless driving. Even DUI penalties are not stiff enough because DUI drivers kill thousands of Americans ever year.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I hate Joe Simitian so much. This guy just hates freedom.

Not to sound mean, but "hundreds" of deaths per years for the entire USA is statistically insignificant. There are lots and lots of real dangers in this country compared to deaths caused by driving while on the phone.

But, see if anyone here can answer me this. Mr. Simitian could not when I asked him.

If driving while using a cellphone is so dangerous (frequently comapared to the same as drinking while durnk) why are the POLICE exempt from this law?

They police can, and do, drive while operating a phone. Do the laws of physics not apply to a police officer in a full-size cruiser?

And before anyone tries.. I've aked several departments. San Jose, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and the Santa Clara County Sheriff. They receive no special training to drive a car while using a phone.. and they all still do it.

If it doesn't apply to the police why should it apply to me?

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Posted by vfree
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Otto, best comment I have ever seen on this site. Agree 100% with you.

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Posted by gcoladon
a resident of Slater
on Aug 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

Otto, you appear to be an enemy of the state.

In support of your point, check out this article about a policeman who got in an accident while/just after a phone call on his police communicator: Web Link

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Posted by Tamee
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I am thinking if one of those uneccessary deaths happened to someone you love Otto, you would chnage your mind.

If it is avoidable then it is foolish to not charge high fines.

Have you ever driven behind someone on the phone? Watch! Pay attention. If you are driving behind someone who weaves around in there lane, drives real slow and stops irratically check them out.

I don't want to be the one that died because some selfish person decided it was Ok to endanger my life. Or my loved ones life.

We lived thousands of years without being on the phone 24-7 and we can put the phone down long enough to get safley from point to point.

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Posted by Tessroo
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Otto - You obviously haven't had a loved one injured or killed by a texting driver. If you had, the fact that it is "statistically insignificant" would be irrevelant. You speak of freedom... What about those who have had their freedom deprived by a texting driver. You need to be personally, detrimentally effected by a texting driver to appreciate the significance, statistical or otherwise.

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Posted by More Thought
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

Thanks Tessroo, good post. People are too quick to blurt out some catch phrase like "Nanny state" and be done with the issue in their minds. We have restrictions on our "Freedom" all the time. The Vehicle Code I guess would be considered the anti-freedom manifesto by those who would rather not have to think too deeply on the topic.
another thing to think about regarding numbers of live lost: Not very many people die from bullets fired into the air, but its still a good law to stop people from doing it; statistically relevant or not.

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Posted by Mountain View Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

I am so dissapointed in the comments about texting and driving not being a big deal (cranky, Otto Maddox, vfree). How would any of you like to be the parent recieving the phone call that your sixteen year old daughter is dead because she had her phone in her hand and was distracted? Or what about the other three parents that get the same call, because their children were in the car with her and now they are also dead. Or it wasn't even the driver of the car carrying these precious loved ones, but the other guy on the phone in the lane next to them? Or even worse, YOU'RE DEAD and you are a single parent who just left children orphaned. You want to know something even more scarey? As I type this, there are more idiots using their phone in their car than scenarios I can imagine up in ways that people will die because of them.

I am also dissapointed in the title of this article: "Bill to curb texting behind the wheel moves ahead". The term "to curb" means to minimize or slow down. The article should have been titled "Bill to STOP texting behind the wheel moves ahead."

Put your phones down people, it's the LAW!

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Posted by kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm

There are way to many distractions for a driver these days. All the gadgets and stuff in cars, are all to distracting. I say the Car companies should make it impossible to use a cell in the car. That way no one will be tempted and there won't be a need for a law.

Another distraction is people talking to drivers, now if they could only find a way to mute people, then we would be in heaven.

The more people that live together, the more nanny the state becomes.

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Posted by gcoladon
a resident of Slater
on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:26 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

I invite everyone who says, 'ITS THE LAW!' to check their speedometers next time they're driving down the highway or Central Expressway, driving with the flow of traffic. And report back what their follow-the-law percentage is, and what they think the local society's follow-the-law percentage is.

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Posted by Mountain View Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm

FOCUS gcoladon.......the subject is driving while using a cell phone, not speeding.

But if you want to open that can of worms........ let's talk about the bullies that tailgate other motorists that are driving the posted speed limit. Aren't they a joy? Or better yet, let's talk about geniouses that call the far left lane "the fast lane"! What's with that? The last time I checked, the speed limit was the same in every single lane, no matter if it's a two or six lane road/freeway (except for the far right lane, where caution/speed should always be exersized for vehicles entering and exiting the freeway). Or how about the insane person that passed me on the freeway last week, USING THE SHOULDER OF THE FREEWAY, while I was traveling at the posted speed of 65 in the commuter/diamond lane WITH passengers in my car during rush hour.

Let's face it folks, people feel entitled in the world we live in and law's just don't mean what they used to.........until you get caught.

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Posted by Darin
a resident of another community
on Aug 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

So why must there be a specific law against driving while texting, or while talking on a cell phone, or while reading the newspaper, or while grooming oneself, or whatever? Why can't there be a single law against driving while distracted?

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm

This bill is just a revenue generator targeting cell users, but pitched as 'anti-texting'. Driving is a visual excersize, impossible to perform competently while reading (or typing). But not everyone on a cell phone is the distracted driver of stereotype, just an easy target for fines. There are already adequate laws addressing bad driving. It's just easier to bust someone holding their hand to their ear.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Aug 31, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Mountain View Mom raised some important points in her post, above. The far left lane on a multi lane highway is actually called the 'passing lane', and technically is only to be used while passing slower vehicles. 'Fast Lane' is merely the slang term for it. 'Slower traffic keep right' is the LAW in California.
So whenever we self-righteously block the left lane to prevent scofflaws from speeding, we too are violating the law.

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Posted by pumar
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm

How much do you want to bet that Matthew Pumar was texting or chatting on his cell phone when he killed William Ware? I hope he gets charged with murder.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 1, 2012 at 7:53 am

Well, according to the witnesses, he staggered out of the crashed car with his phone in his hand. That's a pretty good indicator that he was on it while racing down California Street at over 70 mph.

That sounds a lot like "homicidal negligence" to me.

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