Friday, September 14, 2007
California Bans Teen Drivers Using Cell Phones
A law signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday will require those teens to put down all cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. Older drivers will be able to use hands-free devices but minors won't enjoy that luxury — in part because of the popularity of text-messaging among teens.
"The simple fact is that teenage drivers are more easily distracted. They are young, inexperienced and have a slower reaction time," Schwarzenegger said in a statement after he signed the legislation into law. "We want to eliminate any extra distractions so they can focus on paying attention to the road and being good drivers."
The law barring cell phone use by drivers under 18 will take effect July 1, as will the law restricting cell phone use among older drivers, which the governor signed last year.
Violators will be fined $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Both laws include exceptions for drivers who need to make emergency calls.
A 2001 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 16-year-old drivers have a crash rate three times higher than that of 17-year-olds, five times greater than 18-year-olds and almost 10 times greater than drivers ages 30-59.
The kids aren't all right with the new law. "That's insane -- it's madness," 13-year-old Cameron Young tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "No technology? I'm speechless. Not cool, not cool at all."
The answer, Cameron, is to do the "Green" thing and use public transportation. On a bus or light rail, you can call and text message as much as you like. And - this is the best part - you'll be helping to - like - save the planet.
I have no problem with this law and hope other states will move towards banning cell phone use while driving for others under the age of 18.
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