Thursday, May 10, 2012

Put the phone down!

Although it was already against the law for truck drivers to use their cell phones while driving, many states don’t have the same law for regular commuters. I have to say I don’t quite understand why the FMSCA thought it was a good idea to ban cell phone use for truck drivers but some states have yet to implement the law on everyone else, but I digress.
It came out a few days ago that Alabama is now the 38th state to prohibit texting behind the wheel. The new law signed by Gov. Robert Bentley takes effect on Aug. 1, and violators will be fined $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third or subsequent offense. Pretty cheap tickets for such a dangerous act, but it’s a start. Just like speeding tickets, I’m sure it will rise over time.
The thing that worries me is how do you catch someone? Of course if you’re driving and someone rear-ends you and openly admits they were on their phone they can get a ticket, but what about everything else? Are police just supposed to look at drivers on the road and see if their phones are out? And I have a bad feeling that this could make it worse.. People who text and drive generally hold their phone right in front of their face so they can glance back and forth from the phone to the road quickly. Stupid yes, but painfully obvious their texting to passersby. Simply making it a new law may prevent some drivers from texting, but what will the others do? They will now hide their phones in their lap so you can’t see what they’re doing – it will just look like their looking down. But if they’re looking down, then they have even more ground to cover from their lap back to the road in front of them.
Personally, I think they should ban ALL cell phone use while on the road and you can only talk if you have a hands-free set. That way there is no discretion and it becomes more difficult to hide what you’re doing. Have your phone out when you’re driving = ticket. The changing of technology has to mean the changing of roadway laws. We should want our roads as safe as possible, and cell phones have no place in a driver’s hands.

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