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New safe-driving laws take effect in California

Original post made on Jan 2, 2013

Texting while driving, red-light cameras and party buses are among the targets of new driving-related laws that took effect in California Tuesday, Jan. 1.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 11:54 AM

Comments (17)

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Posted by robit noops
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Hands free texting law is a huge let down to people concerned with safe driving. I see dozens of people on cell phones driving EVERY day so it seems like back pedaling, or adding loopholes to driving laws that are barely enforced in the first place. California and Palo Alto do not seem overly concerned about keeping our roads sage.

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Posted by robit noops
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I just wish that people used blinkers before turning or changing lanes.

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

What a crock ... the whole thing with using devices while driving is all about judgement and skill, and there is really no way to legislate that.

Hands free stuff you still have to reach over and press a button, a button that is sometimes hard to find and takes your eyes off the road. For example Apple's SIRI is hands free .. but you have to press the button to activate it, and then often you have to read and press a choice it returns back to you.

People are still driving while "gadgeting" and even if they do not get in accidents, they still slow everyone down and add to stress by driving too slow, being unaware, sitting at lights when they turn green and making bad decisions while driving because they are not full concentrating on what they are doing.

Either fix the technology or ban it ... or better yet, just let everyone do whatever they want to do and come down on them massively hard when they screw up so they can learn their lesson. A lot of people can use these things, smoke, eat, change the radio channel, switch CD's or whatever and not have a problem.

I know how, when and where to do whatever it is I have to do when I drive and I have yet to hit anyone or even get a ticket. I'm not perfect, but I have reasonable judgement and know at any given moment where my attention needs to be ... like on driving when my car is moving. I don't know why we all cannot manage that, but making and changing and re-making all these laws constantly seems to me to be a big damn waste of time and effort that does not solve the problem.

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Posted by Driver
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Maine has a hand distracted driving law. This means doing anything with your hands other than driving e.g. eating, shaving, putting on make up, drinking, etc. as well as using electronic devices.

Makes lots of sense too.

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Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I am very disappointed in this new texting law. One problem is that many people don't understand what is meant by "hands-free". Apparently many people think that putting it on speakerphone qualifies. I have seen several people hold a phone in their hands while talking and claim that it is hands-free!

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Posted by Anymouse1
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

And, how does a police-officer know you were just touching the phone to activate hands-free functions?

I can just see the amount of people getting out of tickets.

I would've liked to see higher fines for any cell-phone use - or just change the law like the comment above, to what Maine has. Seems every person thinks they have it down, to be able to multitask while driving, even 'Anon', above, believe they have mastered their own domain in their car.
<State law already allowed hands-free verbal calling, but the new one makes it legal to use software applications to dictate texts or listen to incoming written texts that the device "reads" aloud, Clader said.

"This allows you to use any voice-activated device so you don't have to type to text," Clader said.

Under the law, drivers will be allowed to touch their phones to activate or deactivate the hands-free functions.>

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Anymouse1 > even 'Anon', above, believe they have mastered their own domain in their car.

Hey Anymouse1 ... it is not that I "believe" I have mastered it ... not that I blame you for being skeptical, for me I have the numbers ... I have been ticket and accident free for many years. I am not perfect, but as I state, this is really a question of judgement, and most people do not know when to engage it, or perhaps even how.

It's a good point about making a law that is problematic to enforce, and I think it is the game our current crop of politicians play ... they make sucker laws that are useless, based on one or two cases played to the public to make it look like they are doing something ... when the real problems in our city, state and country grow rampantly out of control.

Having had an iPhone for years now, I can tell you that the hands-free that I used on my iPhone now ... is inferior to just being able to pick up my old Nokia in:

1. the old phones has one lit up spot ... the number ... so you did not have to look and take time and brain bandwidth to orient to the screen.

2. the old phones had individual buttons that beeped when you pressed them, giving you feedback as to what you dialed. The hole face of my iphone feels the same.

3. The speakerphone feature is nice, but my old Motorola phone had that.

4. Manipulating other featuers of the phone forces more attention off driving. not less.

That's just my opinion and I'm sure the new phones will get better, but still, this is just laws to be able to stop and harrass people ... I sincerely doubt their effectiveness in anything. Are their ticket statistics that infractions or accidents have gone down? I bet scratch the surface of that and it is total horse puckey ... or should I say malarchy?

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Posted by virginia
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2013 at 12:12 am

The idea of a traffic, red light camara sounds more like, a revenue use then for a safety measure. It's too bad.

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Posted by Jim
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 3, 2013 at 11:10 am

Many young people raised in the age of instant chatter are addicted to texting and smartphones. No law or fine will stop this.

But there is an easy fix and I suggested a new law to Jerry Hill.

Smartphones with GPS chips can be programmed within the operating system to not allow texting anytime the phone is traveling above a given speed. Or they could require a nuisance prompt for each text sent and received just as current GPS devices in cars.

We didn't NEED to text while driving 20 years ago. We don't NEED to today. Pull over in a safe place to call or text. 911 would still work for emergencies.

Movie theaters vigorously enforce no talking or texting. Why can't we enforce this while driving.

Insurance companies, parents of teenagers, and many other groups would back a law that would totally stop texting while driving.

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Posted by Economic Stimulus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

The cell phone laws are a good economic stimulus plan. Sounds like many of you need a new phone, and/or a new car. I get in my Toyota, the Bluetooth auto-connects, and I have hands free everything: texting, navigation, and calls. Admittedly, I do have to push a button on my steering wheel if I want to listen to my playlists off my phone, but they’re easy to find and I don’t have to look away from the road. I remember my dad changing 8-tracks in the car back in the day while we had lap belts and kids sat in plastic buckets. I’m pretty sure things are safer now; people are just dumber.
If you don’t run red lights, you don’t have to worry about cameras.

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Posted by Sylvia
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2013 at 11:54 am

Jim, I don't know if it's feasible, but I very much like your idea of having the phone be "smart" enough to know it's moving faster than a human can walk and just not work!

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Posted by driver
a resident of another community
on Jan 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm

On a visit to Portugal, local friends kept alluding to how bad the drivers there are, and maybe they are, I don't know, but I felt so much safer as a pedestrian in Lisbon because drivers just didn't seem to ever run red lights or even push it. I asked a friend why this was and he said it's because if you run a red light, they take away your license. They also seem to have a much bigger zone at the intersection for cars to leave clear for pedestrians.

The most dangerous driving I've seen is women applying makeup while they are driving, even at freeway speeds. This ought to be illegal. That, and, well, teenagers driving while texting and wandering into opposing lanes of traffic. Oh, and people on cell phones running red lights. I'm with the 'distracted hands' suggestion above. And maybe for a little bit of tough love ala the Portugese for persistent red light runners.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Clever idea about phones not working while moving, but one of the advantages of public transit is that you can use your phone while on a bus or train. Likewise, car pooling.

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

> having the phone be "smart" enough to know it's moving faster than a human can walk and just not work!

Guess if I'm kidnaped and in the trunk of a car with my cellphone I won't be able to call police and let them know?

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Talk about crazy things to do when you are driving ... I'll never forget a guy in a van playing the trumpet, with both hands, while he was driving in traffic on 101.

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Posted by Don't Drive with gadgets
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I do NOT believe in driving with gadgets! IT IS NOT SAFE..for you AND all of the rest of us folks. Cars go fast, very heavy vehicles and you get horrid injuries and ones that can ruin your life.
Don't do it.
Just pull over for a bit in a parking lot or something.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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