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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Piss off enough people and this is what you get

CHP out looking for cell phone cheats today

Henry K. Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
August 11 2009

Hands-free. It's the law.

That's the message the California Highway Patrol wants hammered home today when it kicks off a "zero tolerance" campaign against drivers who violate the "hands free" cell phone law.

Most motorists are well aware of the law that took effect July 1, 2008, that requires drivers to use a hands-free device if they're talking on the phone. But many people are ignoring the law, said CHP Sgt. Trent Cross.

According to the CHP, there were 261 accidents from July through October 2008 caused by drivers using hand-held cell phones, resulting in five deaths and 115 injuries.

Today, CHP officers throughout the Bay Area will be on the lookout for cell-phone scofflaws. South Bay commuters, take special note: San Jose CHP officers will be teaming up with Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies and cops from Morgan Hill, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, San Jose, and Sunnyvale to look for muttering miscreants, reported CHP Officer Brandie Dressel.

Dressel and her colleagues recently invited reporters and other hapless drivers to go through an obstacle course while texting. They didn't do so well.

If you're reading this on a PDA while driving, you've been forewarned.

Selected comments

It's about time. How many more people have to be killed or injured by the selfish and self-centered? (whatnext)

I just got a ticket last week, MY BAD, look out, they are puttin the hammer down on this. (jlpc64)

Here's hoping they shoot to kill. Kidding, of course, but if someone is this cavalier with the safety of others while driving a 4000 pound potential weapon, one has to assume their sense of right and wrong is severely warped.

I still say raise the fine to $1,500, and after 3 violations, suspend their license for a year. (out_of_the_past)

Up the fine

Up the points

Stop the stupidity (Weej)

cswanson: Your right to talk and drive ends when it endangers my life on the highway. Stuff your "LIBERTY Phone" where the sun don't shine.

"Guns don't kill people - drivers with cellphones kill people." (ForASong)

About time; in this culture a law is only a law if it is enforced. Cell phone use is just another type of driving impaired = you might be facing the road but yer not always paying attention to traffic conditions. Texting has to be far more dangerous since you have to look away from the road and at your keyboard. I have to ask: what can be so blasted important that you risk an accident and death to text while you're driving??? "Wuzzup man?" Bleeping m0r0nic. Speaking of which, how about much higher fines for these offenses? The state bill starts at $20 for the first ticket - big deal. (BBenson)

CSwanson..... the problem with your logic is that nobody wants to lay there in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the neck down due to a car accident, pondering "liberty" of the driver who hit him while chatting about something totally UNimportant.... on a cell phone.

"Liberty" never included anything that potentially harms others. (joerealtor19)

Hang up. And when you're not driving, keep your voice down, and turn your stupid ringtone down, too. (gjackson)

Last Thursday on Gough the guy in front of me was so in a world of his own on his phone he had 8 car lengths clear in front of him and was meandering along at a snail's pace, not paying the least bit of attention.

So I leaned on the horn to bring it to his attention. Nothing major. So indignant was he that I'd interrupted HIS CALL, that when he got to the next intersection he retaliated by stopping at a green light to prevent me from making the light and so he could go at the last second.

Not having it, I swerved around and got in front of him, came to a complete stop in front of him this time, forcing him to stop, and got out of the car and let him have it.

All he could manage when confronted with this was a weak, "Uh ... uh ... uh ... FOOK YOU!" The guy was in a complete other world on that phone call.

If the cops aren't going to enforce this law I will. I'm sick of these self-absorbed, law breaking morons everywhere I turn turning this city into an obstacle course and not having the least bit of courtesy for anyone in their paths. (bohemiansf)

It is about time they enforced that law. We have all seen numerous near misses or worse, while drivers attempt to converse while talking on a cell phone. Hopefully the penalty will be significant enough to encourage drivers to adhere to the law thereby making it a little safer for other drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists. (VID3699)

joerealtor and rfkolby have it right: CHP appeared to enforce this law for a month or maybe two when it was first enacted, but since then I've seen just as many idiots, if not more, driving while distracted, because the world centers around them and their freaking personal communication devices.

Hands-free phones may leave both hands available to drive, but your damned brain is nonetheless distracted from the complicated and dangerous work of operating a motor vehicle. If you're having a conversation with a passenger, your attention may not be 100% focused on driving, but at least the other person is IN THE CAR with you -- and both of you at least MAY be aware of what's happening on the road. Talking to someone who's not in the car, blissfully unaware of your five lanes of 75-mile-per-hour traffic, or hectic city streets with other cars, bicycles, pedestrians, traffic lights, stop signs...? Forget about it!

Get a freaking clue. Put the god damn cell phone down. Really need to talk, right this minute? Pull the hell over!

Fine these idiots $1000 a pop. In fact, sign me up to write them the tickets. (withoutalabel)

Just pull over and make the call, and stop using the mobile phone as a non-stop babysitter. It's a good thing to be left with your thoughts once in awhile and to not be multitasking all the time -- especially when you're driving a two ton projectile at speed and aimed at other people. (bohemiansf)

I was rear ended while on my motorcycle by a dumb lady talking on a cell phone. I support the CHP on this one. (richm752)

HURRAY! Yesterday I got stuck behind a woman on the Bay Bridge doing what cell phone users always do while driving: Careering slowly in and out of her lane, totally out of sync with surrounding traffic while she dialed her number then talked. She could have waited two minutes then pulled over, easy. But nooooooooo. (inkfingers)

I imagine the thankfully few idiots on here who object to this law are the same idiots who can't make it for half an hour without gabbing on their cellphone or texting a friend. Go CHP, and raise the fine for crying out loud! (blackcat21)

Finally! Having been rear ended while stopped at a stop light by a tourist who was dialing her cell phone traveling at 35 mph, I for one have been waiting for this to be enforced. Of course the force of the impact pushed me into another stopped car, a Mercedes! (I think they are made of steel...) My little Honda was crunched between the two cars.

Anyway, enforcing this law is WAY overdue...I can't wait to see someone pulled over. There will be plenty of drivers ticketed...I see them all the time. (janster14)

During the era before cell phones, many of us seemed very content without cell phones and definitely managed to drive our cars without having to talk on cell phones. What has happened to our culture that cell phone usage is the norm to the extent that people are willing to risk the safety and lives of others just so they can have a phone conversation while driving? I see people talking on their cell phones while driving at 6:00AM while I'm commuting to work. Who in the world are they speaking to at 6:00AM? I don't own a car and walk most places so I've experienced MANY, MANY times having to negotiate crossing a street while a clueless driver on a cell phone runs the stop sign. I've seen it all too often where pedestrians and other drivers are trying to figure out the next move of the person driving and speaking on the cell phone-- clearly that person is completely oblivious that s/he is causing a traffic problem and potentially endangering others. All of you who drive while talking on cell phones SUCK and deserve a painful demise. (bennyinsf)

It's about f*ing time. I nearly got sideswiped the other day where 24 and 980 meet by some idiot in an SUV with a cell phone in his hand. My advice to everyone is, drive like everyone else is out to kill you. Because if you don't watch out, they will. (Avalon33)


As for Singapore, the law already exists:

Driving in Singapore

What consitutes handphone driving?

Handphone driving

An offence under Sec 65B of the Road Traffic Act is made out as long as there is evidence to show that the motorist was holding onto the handphone with one hand, while using it to communicate. This is regardless of the position in which he was holding onto the handphone and the fact that a hands-free kit was also used is irrelevant.

Handphone driving is an inconsiderate and dangerous act that poses a threat to other road-users. The act distracts drivers and reduces their ability to control their vehicles and to react to changes in road situations. This puts other road users at risk. Because of the seriousness of the offence, Traffic Police will continue to step up our enforcement on handphone driving. We advise motorists who wish to use their handphones to have their passenger make or receive the call. If travelling alone, motorists should drive to a carpark before making the call.


A first-timer convicted of phone and drive offence shall be liable to 12 demerit points and a maximum fine of up to $1000/- or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both. He/She may also be disqualified from driving. The offender's handphone and SIM card will be seized to facilitate investigation. These may be forfeited by the court upon conviction.

What constitutes hand phone driving:

* the vehicle is in motion; and
* the driver is holding on to the handphone with one hand; while his other hand is holding the steering wheel and
* the driver is communicating with any person with that handphone.

[Para 2(b) : If the driver is not holding on to the steering wheel at all, he can be charged for reckless or dangerous driving. Upon conviction, first-time offenders can be fined up to S$3000/-, or jailed for a term up to 12 months, or both. Repeat offenders are liable for a maximum fine of S$5000/-, or to imprisonment for a term up to 2 years, or both. In addition, they may also be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence.]

[Para 2(c) includes making phone calls, paging for someone, receiving a call by pressing the keypad, and reading, writing or sending SMS.]


Scenario A (Paging for someone)
Page for someone, with or without earpiece, using one hand to hold on to the mobile phone and the other hand holding the steering wheel.

Scenario B (SMS/MMS message)
Writing, Sending, and Reading SMS/MMS messages from someone, with or without earpiece, using one hand to hold on to the mobile phone and the other hand holding the steering wheel.

Scenario C (Making a Call)
Making a call, with or without earpiece, by pressing the keypads and was holding handphone in one hand with the other hand holding the steering wheel.

Scenario D (Receiving a Call)
Receiving a call, with or without earpiece, by pressing the keypads and was holding handphone in one hand with the other hand holding the steering wheel.


While you're chewing on that, take these awareness tests:

You may not ride, but sooner or later, you — and your loved ones — will have to use the crosswalk or cross the road...

Related posts
Be(a)ware or be roadkill Part II
Awareness Test
Suck on this
Me! Me! Me! Or, how I'm Superman / a Superhero
Well, what do you know? I'm not alone in this. Part II
Give it up! You can't win on this one.
Be(a)ware or be roadkill
Well, what do you know? I'm not alone in this
Lemmings, lemmings, they drown
A voice in the wilderness, eh?
No cell phone
Cell phone, thy true name


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