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.


About jasminestewart87

Posted on June 6, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I decided to do something about teen distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me last fall by a texting driver. That incident changed me but I don’t hate texting. The way I see it, that would be like hating nightfall – 72% of teens text every single day – some over 3000 times a month. The texting drivers I spoke with, including teens and truckers, all said that laws and Big Brother type software devices that “lock down” their phones would not deter them at all. They feel their civil liberties slipping away. So I built a tool called OTTER for the individual to help manage their texting on their terms.

    OTTER is a comprehensive text management system for the home, office and certainly, the highway. It has GPS based Parental Control Feature for teen drivers, a GPS Mode for adults who choose to use it and an Auto reply with unlimited customized responses. We are getting 4.5 to 5 star rating from the tech community and great response from teen groups and safety organizations. We have heard of teens and business people alike using OTTER to schedule their own “texting blackout periods” so they can get some focused work done without feeling disconnected from their social network. If a someone uses OTTER like this, then we think they will see the benefit of OTTER’s road safety features. We are not going to stop until change hits our roads and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner

  2. I am so glad you posted this! I had to Google the new law and find out if it were true or not! It’s so crazy that the fine is $150. In some states it’s as low as $20. You have a great point. Nobody is going to advertise that they are texting and wave their phone in the window so people see. And how are police going to differentiate between texting and choosing to not answer a call? This under 18 law has also made me question a lot. First how can a police officer tell by passing by how old they are? And why not even with an ear piece? That’s a lot safer than the alternative. This law is so vague! Great post! It’s good to know other people have questions about the new laws, too.

    • Thanks for commenting, Rachel! Yeah, this new law raised alot of questions from me! My parents were the first ones to tell me about it of course; they are so over-protective lol. But it also makes no sense to me about the bus drivers, because the point is not about whether you are going to harm your passengers if you are distracted by your phone while driving – but it’s also concerning OTHER drivers, pedestrians, bikers, and everything else!

  3. If they’re going to ban text messaging and talking on the phone, why don’t they ban eating while driving, applying make-up while driving, changing your music selection while driving, etc.???

    All of these things can distract us from the road as well. I don’t agree that they should forbid these activities! I’m just expressing some more of my thoughts. And that was just a rhetorical question.

  4. I see what you are saying, but all in all, it will decrease the amount of accidents due to the use of phones while driving. Other states (Such as CA) have already enacted these laws, with lesser penalties, however. Better get used to it though, the law is here to stay.

    • First, thanks for reading, Rob! I appreciate it! And yeah, I totally understand. Of course I am grateful for a law that will help make the roads safer. Just stating how much I’ve been wondering about the actual law itself…

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