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A New Phone Law?

Since Our Blog is a little bit about travel, this seemed like a good start.

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Do we need a new phone travel restriction law? Admit it! You get so irritated when you see someone sitting… just sitting in front of you, at a light that has turned green… and they aren’t moving because they are just sitting there talking on their cell phone. Or, maybe it’s just me.

Already, it’s against the law to text. But, Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell re-introduced a bill that was previously voted down on the Senate floor in 2015. A bill that would make it a traffic violation to use your cell phone in hand.  Hands free only.

Senator Scott Surovell today introduced SB 74 which prohibits driving while operating a mobile phone unless it is being used in “hand’s free” mode”.

Here is what the Virginia Transportation Alliance has said about the bill:

 

The Alliance applauds Senator Surovell’s efforts to find solutions that will help reduce distracted driving. Recent VDOT statistics show that over a 6 year period, approximately 1 in 6 traffic fatalities in Northern Virginia occurred when at least 1 of the drivers involved was distracted,” stated Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance President David Birtwhistle in an email to Potomac Local. “Many more traffic incidents impacting the efficiency of the transportation network are caused by distracted driving. Northern Virginia’s congestion issues will not be solved by such legislation, but every effort to reduce the number of incidents and save lives matters.

The days of having your cell phone in your hand while driving may come to a close after this session. The argument against passage of the bill includes that it may also serve to limit GPS use with your phone. Opponents of the bill believe that it just represents too much government involvement in our driving, and puts more burden on the police to enforce it.

For pic o’ day, this is more like just plain ole phone humor. (Does phone humor really exist?)

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Calling and Texting While Driving

A crash because a truck driver was not paying attention. (The Post and Courier)  A South Carolina couple was hurt when a truck driver crashed into the back of their car as they slowed to turn into their driveway. The lawsuit alleged that the truck driver was talking on his cell phone when the crash took place. Unifi Inc., a North Carolina-based manufacturer of polyester and nylon yarns, has now settled the couple’s lawsuit for $3.75 million. But the real issue relates to truck drivers talking on cell phones and not paying attention.

The company did have a policy regarding their drivers on the phone while driving; they just did not enforce the policy. According to the article, At the time of the crash, the trucking company had a policy that its drivers could not use their cellphones for longer than two minutes, and only if they were using a wireless Bluetooth device.

According to the evidence in the case, Unifi Inc. did not enforce the rule and phone logs show that the driver involved in the accident, had been using his cellphone for seven hours during the course of his roughly 8½-hour driving shift. During the lawsuit discovery, other phone logs showed that many of their other truck drivers were talking on the phone in the same extended time.

This company has 60 trucks on the road. They now say that they will no longer allow their drivers to use their cell phones while driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCA) approved a regulation in 2012 that banned hand-held phone use by drivers of commercial vehicles. Hands-free phones while driving is still lawful. In South Carolina, the regulation is enforced by the state Transport Police.

I find this article interesting in that it might indicate a movement that stops cell phone use while driving. There are already phone apps available that block texting while driving. Some lawmaker may decide to introduce a blocking app into required driving law. In the meantime, would cell phone companies lobby against this? Are drivers ready for such restriction on a personal level?

And for pic o’ day, speaking of progress:

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The Phone Jamming Charge

I guess he would say that he just needed some peace and quiet.

The Chicago Tribune tells us the story of a Chicago certified public accountant who is facing a felony charge because he “allegedly” was using a jamming device to prevent the others on the city train from using their cellphones.

In court, Judge James Brown called Dennis Nicholl the “cellphone police” and set his bail at $10,000 in the Cook County Circuit Court, after Nicholl was charged with unlawful interference with a public utility.

Apparently, other riders repeatedly on several trips could not use their cell phones or other devices and alerted officials on the train.  After repeated complaints, an undercover police officer caught Nicholl with a device in his hand, with multiple antennas.

The officer then took out his phone and attempted a call. The signal was abruptly dropped. The plainclothes officer then arrested Nicholl and took him into custody.

In the arrest report, police wrote that Nicholl told investigators that “He’s disturbed by people talking around him,” His lawyer said after his bond hearing that “He might have been selfish in thinking about himself, but he didn’t have any malicious intent.”

I am posting this because I found this to be a curious remedy by Nicholl, that every time he got on the train… no one’s phone would be able to make calls. I wonder how long this had been going on and whether others actually were enjoying the ride!

And for our Friday pic o’ day… warning???? (another one sent to me that made me laugh) Have a great weekend!

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