Jun 25, 2019

Texting banned while driving

Illustration by Patrick Tran / The Collegian

As of July 1, California joined the five other states in outlawing hand-held cell phone devices while driving. Calif. is now one of six states that signed the bill outlawing text messaging. The other five states are: Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington.

The university Web site posted the vehicle code 23123, enforcing not using a phone while driving a motor vehicle.

It states: “Unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking.”

Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the bill on Sept. 24 that will make it illegal to read or send text messages while driving starting Jan 1. Officers will be able to fine drivers for using any type of electronic device that is not hands free. The first offense is $20 and $50 for all repeat offenses.

Students driving around campus can be ticketed as well. For drivers under the age of 18, no phone or text device of any kind can be used while behind the wheel. Stated on the University Police Web site, under vehicle code section 23124, a person under the age of 18 “shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device.”

More vehicle codes will be added once the new law for text messaging goes into effect.

Some students did not even know of the new bill being passed and were not happy to hear that University Police can ticket as well.

“I think it is unfair [for University Police] to ticket students because they are not looked at as real cops,” Michelle Nesmith, junior kinesiology major, said. “The reason is good but I do not think it matters as much as they are making it seem.”

University Police thinks the new law will cut down accidents and make students pay more attention while they drive.

“Students do not see people using the cross walk and have late reactions because they are not paying attention,” Safety Escort Edgar Negret of University Police, said.

Stated in a press release, Schwarzenegger commented that he was “happy to sign” the bill against text messaging. Text messaging has become a huge problem with drivers not paying attention to the road, he said. The point of outlawing talking on the phone was to make it a safer environment for drivers. Now adding to that, text messaging is another factor to be looked at.

One student felt the ban on texting while driving was a step in the right direction considering certain situations they’ve heard about.

“I think it is a good idea,” Stephanie Curtiss, a junior nursing major, said.

“Personally I have done it before but never felt safe doing it and have known friends who have gotten into car accidents because of it.”

Due to recent events as well, electronic devices are being looked down upon. The California public utilities commission as well, banned certain railroad workers from any type of electronic phone device while on moving trains.

A train wreck on Sept. 12 between a Metrolink passenger train and a freight train happened due to the conductor text messaging. The collision killed 25 people and injured 135.

“Our primary concern is faculty, staff and student safety,” Amy Armstrong, public information officer for the University Police department, said.

Hands-free law

Gov. Schwarzenegger passed a bill banning text messaging while driving.

• The new law will take place Jan. 1, 2009.

• Texting and reading text messages while driving will be against the law.

• Tickets for the first offense will be $20 and all repeat tickets will be $50.

Correction: The engineer, not the conductor, of the Metrolink passenger train was text messaging at the time of the crash.

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