As a personal injury law firm we’ve seen the consequences of crashes caused by drivers who were distracted either texting or talking on their cell phones (or eating, or putting on their make-up or even reading…yes reading, I’ve seen it with my own eyes!), this law seems like a good idea. But, some feel this law doesn’t go far enough.
The new law which takes effect December 1, 2009 makes it illegal to send text messages, tweets and emails while driving. Those younger than 18 are banned from using a cellphone at all while driving. Your first offense will cost you $50, the second offense will cost you $100.
Supporters of this new law feel this is just a small step towards public safety. In its original form, the bill would have required all adult drivers to use a hands-free device while talking and driving. Shelly Forney, whose 9 year old daughter Erica was killed last Thanksgiving after she was struck by a woman talking on her cellphone while driving testified before the legislature.
“We’re disappointed, but we are glad that something is passing,” Forney said. “It’s not the bill that we were supporting, but anything is better than nothing.”
Those who oppose the bill wonder how are police going to be able to tell if someone is actually texting and not just just getting ready to dial or looking at a map they goggled. They also cite this law will increase traffic stops and decrease privacy rights.
Even Glendale Police Chief Victor Ross admits the law could be hard to enforce. “The first defense for people you stop or in court will be I’m not texting.” He says to bust a texting driver you would probably need multiple witnesses.
It’s always unfortunate when the legislature has to get involved in forcing the public into making good decisions. I think most of us would agree that texting while driving is not a good decision…illegal or not.