California Law May Ban Cell, Laptop Use in Cars by Teen Drivers

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Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2007, 09:12
Category: Legal


A new bill which just passed the California assembly on Monday by a 62-5 vote may ban California drivers under 18 from using a cell phone, pager, text messaging device or laptop while driving.
The amendment aims to improve driver safety, one of the cited studies finding that while teenagers make up 6% of licensed drivers, they compromise 16% of auto accident fatalities.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill, which was previously approved by the state senate, will head back there for expected final approval of amendments before being placed on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk. It’s unknown as to whether the Governor is expected to sign or veto it.
Opponents of the bill have argued that other distractions, such as CDs and music, continue to exist. Others have cited that hands-free devices, help remove the danger from using a device such as a cell phone in the car.
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celldriver.jpg
A new bill which just passed the California assembly on Monday by a 62-5 vote may ban California drivers under 18 from using a cell phone, pager, text messaging device or laptop while driving.
The amendment aims to improve driver safety, one of the cited studies finding that while teenagers make up 6% of licensed drivers, they compromise 16% of auto accident fatalities.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill, which was previously approved by the state senate, will head back there for expected final approval of amendments before being placed on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk. It’s unknown as to whether the Governor is expected to sign or veto it.
Opponents of the bill have argued that other distractions, such as CDs and music, continue to exist. Others have cited that hands-free devices, help remove the danger from using a device such as a cell phone in the car.
The legislation was first introduced by Senator Jor Simitian (D-Palo Alto), who cited a 2001 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stating that 16-year-old drivers have a crash rate five times greater than 18-year-old drivers and almost 10 times greater than drivers between 30 and 59.
This report was coupled with research by the Ford Motor Corporation, which found that teen drivers were four times more distracted than adult drivers when using a cell phone.
A similar bill, which requires that all drivers use hands-free cell phones, was passed last year and will go into effect on July 1st, 2008.
The teenage-focused bill, also known as “SB 33″, would go into effect on July 1st, 2008 if passed and prohibit any drivers under 18 from using cell phones or mobile service devices, including hands-free cell phones, except in the event of an emergency.
Violators of this bill would be fined US$20 for the first offense and US$50 for subsequent offenses, although no violation points would be placed on their driving records.
The bill also omits devices such as Onstar and GPS units, which allow drivers to check on the mechanical status of their cars as well as determine their present location.
If you have any thoughts or ideas about this, let us know in the comments or forums.

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