My Issues With The New Law: Texting While Driving
Our governor has signed a law starting July 1, 2010 that will ban texting while driving. Fines will be $150. This new law will also ban the general use of cell phones for drivers under the age of 18. I have a few thoughts on this new law…
1. How are they really going to enforce this? First, when people text while driving, they are holding their cell phone near their lap or at the steering wheel. No one texts holding their phone above the steering wheel. So are officers going to pull someone over if they are looking down in their lap while driving, assuming that they are typing a text? And let’s say I get a phone call so I pick up my phone to look and see who’s calling but I don’t answer. Can they pull me over assuming that I was texting since I was driving with my phone in my hand? And once they get to the driver window and I argue that I was not texting, do they have the right to ask to look in my phone to see if a text message had just been sent?
2. Another prohibition in relation to this law is that drivers under 18 won’t be allowed to use cell phones at all, even if they have an earpiece. What if he or she has an earpiece on, not talking on the phone, but is talking to themselves or singing a song on the radio – can an officer pull the driver over if he assumes they might have been talking on the phone using the earpiece? And if so, does he then have the right to ask to look through the phone to view recent calls?
3. The law says “text messaging.” Does this include reading text messages, reading Web pages, scrolling through my call log, Tweeting, or browsing on Facebook? You can do a million things on cell phones these days from creating PowerPoints to taking photos. So are they really going to ban only “text messaging” or does it go further than that? If so, they need to specify.
4. Another prohibition involved with this new texting law is that bus drivers are not allowed to text message, but only if there are passengers on the bus. Oh, so if there are no passengers on your bus that you could possibly injure or kill in the event of a collision, then it’s perfectly fine to text message while driving – which could just as well potentially injure or kill other people on the road including pedestrians and cyclists? This makes no sense to me!
Mr. Perdue, I appreciate your attempt to make the roads safer by eliminating potentially dangerous distractions! I just had a few questions about how it will all be handled at the point that a driver is pulled over. THAT IS ALL.