Skip to comments.Hands on the wheel, not on the PDA keys (New WA State Law)
Posted on 05/13/2007 3:41:36 PM PDT by devane617
If you are doing so in Washington State, cease and desist, or risk a fine.
Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the nations first law yesterday to ban DWT--driving while texting with a cell phone, BlackBerry or other mobile device.
"Would you read a book or newspaper while you were driving? No!" Governor Gregoire said. "Then why would you text while driving?"
New Jersey is asking that question, too. Its legislature is considering a bill to outlaw DWT. (One of its sponsors, Paul D. Moriarty, admitted to sometimes using his BlackBerry while driving).
Some states already ban talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel unless a headset is used, and Washington joined that group yesterday. But while reading or other distracting activities may not actually be illegal behind the wheel, more legislators seem to be worried about the danger of multitaskers tapping away without coming to a stop.
Mobile texters in the United States sent 158 billion messages last year, up 95 percent from 2005, according to industry statistics. There is no data on how many are typed or read by drivers, or how often the activity leads to collisions.
There are, though, documented cases of texting-related crashes, including one that prompted the law in Washington. A driver, apparently fixated on his BlackBerry, slammed his van into the car in front of him last December, causing a five-vehicle pileup, state officials said.
Not everyone advocates legislation. Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, said that such laws, while well intended, were difficult for police to detect or enforce.
In Washington, the penalty for DWT is a $101 fine (the proposed fine in New Jersey is $250). But the crime is a secondary offense, meaning a driver must be pulled over for some more grievous infraction.
"Theres a challenge for law enforcement," Governor Gregoire said.
For some, the greater challenge may be to exercise impulse control on the road.
James Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communications Studies at Rutgers University, says he doubts that many multitaskers will keep both hands on the wheel.
"Only the most angelic drivers," he said, "will be able to resist the temptation."
those who wrote this law are living in the stone age.
many cell phones ARE pda’s and they use touch screens.
The problem is that the old pharts in the legislatures are trying to live a guttenberg life in a digital age.
Why? A cop can already stop someone for reckless driving, no matter what the cause. It can be a cell phone, tuning the radio, having sex or whatever else distracts a driver. There is simply no need for a special law just for sending text messages.
Methinks this is just another means for the state of Washington to generate revenues.
I don't do long conversations while driving---but it's nice to let someone know when I'm on the way home, for example, or if I'm going to be late.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Whew! For a minute there, I thought they were going to pass a law banning applying your make-up in the rear-view mirror while driving to work. I dodged THAT bullet...for now. *SMIRK*
You cannot legislate common sense. It has never worked and it never will. Stupid people are going to cause car accidents. The rest of us don’t need any more stupid laws “to protect us” which are really just disguised “revenue generators” for the States.
“Common sense is the little man in a gray suit who never makes a mistake in addition. But it’s always somebody else’s money he’s adding up.” ~ Raymond Chandler
For some reason I visualize Swarzenneggar and the OnStar device in the movie “The 6th Day” and how its so obvious its what we really need, its not talking or texting its the driving factor, get more cars and systems to overide the driver like in commuter lanes to allow the driver to put attention elsewhere.
AN ACT Relating to operating a motor vehicle while reading, 2 writing, or sending electronic messages; adding a new section to 3 chapter 46.61 RCW; prescribing penalties; and providing an effective date.
This act takes effect January 1, 2008.
a seven or ten digit phone number is technically an electronic message....
Illegal aliens are drunk driving and killing people left and right but now we are safe from the scourge of “lv u 2” messages.
The nanny state saves the day again.
Thank god, they might have passed a tax cut or secured the borders or something... (/s)
And so are Legal US citizens. [The states want the tax from the alcoholic sales.]
Surprised no one has banned smoking while driving yet. Nor eating. Well, let's not give the nanny statists any more ideas as to how to nibble away at our liberties.
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