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Arnold Outlaws Handhelds-While-Driving

Posted on Sep 15, 2006
Driving while holding
Béatrice de Géa / LAT

Come July 2008, this activity will be criminal.

With the governor’s signature, California becomes the fourth state to ban drivers from holding cellphones while driving. The law goes into effect in July 2008, and motorists will still be allowed to use hands-free phone technology.

  • Cool tidbit: Schwarzenegger said he sometimes follows his 16-year-old daughter to make sure she’s not driving while holding a phone.

  • L.A. Times:

    SACRAMENTO ? California became the fourth state in the country to ban motorists from holding cellphones while driving, under legislation Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed today.

    The governor signed the bill in Oakland, ending a five-year campaign by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) to outlaw one of the most common distractions of California drivers.

    Under the law, which will take effect in July 2008, Californians risk a minimum $20 fine for driving while yakking into a phone ? unless they are using a headset, speaker phone, ear bud or some other technology that frees both hands while they talk. Drivers in emergency situations would be exempt.

    “Public safety is the governor’s No. 1 priority,” Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said Thursday, “and this bill will make the streets and highways of California safer by ensuring that drivers have both hands available for driving.”


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    By jeff wheelock, September 14, 2007 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    It’s a good law. It’ll stop me from trying to dial my cell phone (which I can’t see without taking off my glasses) while I’m driving.

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    By leperlord, September 16, 2006 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    What people don’t realize (or they choose to deny) is that the act of holding a phone isn’t the main distraction - it’s the conversation itself.  Whether you think so or not, your attention IS taken away from your driving when you’re talking to someone - whether they’re at the other end of a phone or sitting next to you in the car.  While I applaud efforts to make people safer/better drivers, the allowance of hands-free phones means the problem will continue unabated.
    For the record, I’m actually against any total ban against phone usage while driving.  There are situations in which using a phone should be allowed (a tragedy in the family, emergencies, etc.).  I just think casual phone use should be greatly discouraged - perhaps by increased fines in cases where phone use (or any other in-car distraction) has contributed to an accident.

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    By Mad As Hell, September 16, 2006 at 10:19 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    New Jersey supposedly has that law.  But it’s negated by the provision that you cannot be stopped for using a handheld—you can only be stopped for ANOTHER violation.  Then, and only then is using a hand-held a violation.

    So it’s basically ignored.

    I have NO problem with using hands-free phones. It’s one of those idiot ideas that it’s a “distraction”.  So’s the radio, the kids in the back seat, or your spouse talking to you.

    But here’s a thought: All those things keep you ALERT so you don’t succumb to the hypnotic quality of the road, especially at night.  Sometimes, when I’ve been tired, talking on the HANDS-FREE phone has kept me alert, awake and SAFE!

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    By IgnoranceIsNotBliss, September 16, 2006 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This should be a law in every state. Is should also be a law that you can’t put on makeup while driving.

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    By R. A. Earl, September 15, 2006 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Oh but you’re forgetting one important point.

    Even California drivers REQUIRE at least ONE HAND on the wheel and when the other hand is holding a cell phone, it’s not possible for it to be holding a HAND GUN in the middle of a road rage attack. I’d rather deal with a cell-phone totin’ wacko, thanks!

    This bill will NOT “ensure” drivers have both hands on the wheel or even “available” to be on the wheel. Surely the Terminator, of all people, knows that.

    If I were “King for a Day” I’d make the law read similar to the assumptions operating regarding collisions… that the driver who runs into the other is automatically at fault… assumed not to be in control of his/her vehicle. My law would state that a driver involved in a moving violation or a collision WHILE ON THE PHONE, including speakerphone, ear buds, etc., will be automatically deemed to be 100% at fault - driving without due care and attention.

    Penalties for preventable moving infractions are still pathetically inadequate. Those who cause an “accident” while eating, putting on makeup, shaving, talking, gawking, speeding, or while under the influence of any drug should AUTOMATICALLY be taking the bus for a period of not less than 6 months.

    A second offence would entail the CONFISCATION of driving of driving license for 10 years, AND THE VEHICLE permanently. Harsh? I don’t think so. Let’s get the physically/mentally/emotionally immature and incompetent, OFF THE HIGHWAYS.

    (Where I live if you’re caught hunting/poaching game out of season, ALL YOUR EQUIPMENT and THE VEHICLE YOU CAME IN are automatically confiscated and SOLD. It doesn’t matter whose vehicle it is… it’s GONE on FIRST OFFENCE. Not much poaching in these parts anymore! Even the dumbest jerk gets that message.)

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    By Ben Abbott, September 15, 2006 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Personally, I haven’t noticed a difference between drivers on a phone ... meaning hands-on and hands-free appears to me to produce the same result :-(

    The law is based upon a misconception, imo.

    Either out-law operating a phone in combination with driving, or require a special license.

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    By rachelle, September 15, 2006 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Yeaaa! I’ve had it with these drivers who weave about, and maintain inconstant speeds. It’s evident after a bit that they are nattering away on their cells.

    What is so friggin’ important that it can’t wait a few minutes? If something is important, stop anywhere and speak away. Just get off the road!!!

    Report this
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