Distracted Drivers

Speaking of driving, there’s a very interesting bill that’s going through the California legislature right now:

Senate passes bill seeking penalties for driving while distracted
Tuesday May 18, 2004

SACRAMENTO (AP) Drivers distracted by eating, talking to pets or combing their hair could face new fines under a bill that passed the state Senate on Tuesday.

The Senate voted 22-14 to add “distractions” to a long list of California no-no’s while cruising the state’s roads and freeways. Republicans voted against the bill, with one lawmaker calling it “open season on drivers.”

Drivers who attract police attention by weaving or swerving while pressing radio dials, talking on cellular phones, reading or talking with children can expect $35 fines for a first offense and $150 for a second.

The bill, sponsored by the California State Automobile Association, prohibits police officers from stopping drivers who are noticeably distracted unless they see them drive dangerously.

Supporters cited studies blaming distractions for 25 percent to 30 percent of vehicle crashes.

“We think it’s a modest approach to dealing with a significant problem,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Kevin Murray, D-Culver City.

Not so, said Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Northridge.

“This bill makes it a crime to drive while driving,” he said. “This is a bill the Legislature will rue the day it takes effect.”

The bill goes now to the Assembly for consideration.

Granted, the police won’t intervene unless the drivers are weaving in and out of lanes, but still… wow.

6 Replies to “Distracted Drivers”

  1. Actually, I thought they would stop you anyway if they saw you swerving. I guess the fine is new. I don’t mind it actually although I’m guilty many of the offenses. Although “talking to your pet” – geeze, what kinda conversations are they having?

  2. I agree with it. So many people are doing other things while driving and not looking where they’re going and rear-ending other cars. And it’s not fair on those of us who do drive careful and defensively, to have to worry about the distracted drivers, but we do. I just saw that the other day down Sunset Bl. “Oh look at all the neat lights!”. :::crash::: ;p Some poor guy ahead of him got rear-ended.. badly. :( If you’re driving, your eyes should be ON THE ROAD. But you can still talk to your pets. ;)

  3. F**k…… i just rear ended some old ladies car. i was reading this on my laptop while driving to work.

  4. People do too much stupid shit in their cars, yes, but are we freaking sheep here people? “Don’t mind it?” “Agree with it?” Broad legislation such as this leaves too much open to interpretation of individual law enforcement officers. And we all just LOVE and TRUST every single police officer, don’t we? Just wait till you get pulled over for adjusting your air conditioning. Or lighting a cigarette. Or reading that Mapquest printout on your way to the crack house. Then undergoing a field sobriety test because you give The Man a little guff for stopping you. You might not be so pleased. Not only that, but I can just envision a cop giving you a ticket for sipping your Starbucks and being taken away from protecting us from REAL criminals. Let’s spread thinner our already overly taxed law personnel, shall we? Officers are already well empowered to pull you over if they have even the slighted of “reasonable causes” that you’re creating a potential nuisance. As if a cop ever needs a “reason” to pull you over now we give him several hundred more non-reasons to do so? Greeeeeat. Yeah! Thumbs up! Pffffft.

  5. As a professional over the road truck driver I see more than my fair share of crazy drivers and I agree too many people are letting their “distractions” cause dangerous driving. HOWEVER…I think this bill goes a bit too far. Of course pull someone over if they are swerving all over the road…but can’t law enforcement already do that, without this bill? I’m fairly certain they can. Otherwise…why not quit adding to the already ridiculously numerous, nit-picky little laws…and concentrate on harsher punishments for the people that actually cause harm to others while driving…regardless of the reason for their poor driving? In other words…don’t worry about the people that manage to change radio stations, drink coffee, “talk to their pets” (Who is doing this to the extent that causes wrecks???), etc., yet still get where they’re going safely. But when someone does have a fender bender, whether they were distracted or not…charge them more money and add more points to their license. The wallet is where it hurts and many people need their license too badly to risk losing it…so let them be adults and do what they need to do…but if they harm others in doing so…make them take responsibility for their actions and pay a high price. I don’t think parents normally get better results from watching a child every second and nagging them for every tiny thing than they do, than from giving the child a little responsibility for theirself and punishing them when they do the wrong thing. So why would the watching and nagging thing work any better for the government?

    Just my view.

  6. Um, actually I talk to my 2 dogs while driving, like to tell them to stop barking at buses & garbage trucks, or other dogs, or whatever, because it is a distraction. So I could get pulled over for that? Stupid. Besides that fact, I think this is going to be a great excuse for cops to pull over ANYBODY without a legitimate reason, for example, to make racial profiling easier

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