View Full Version : US Considers Federal Law Against Texting

13-09-2009, 11:41 AM
It's so bad here that the laws passed by the states - which have very tiny fines of usually less than $20.00 per citation - are scoffed at and disregarded by those who just don't care.

The Metrolink train accident that killed 25 people a while back where the engineer was texting became the tipping point and now it looks like this might go federal in penalty and fines.

Currently, 14 states have laws in place to prohibit text messaging while driving. California passed a state law preventing cell phone talking in July 2008, and followed in January with a law against text messaging behind the wheel. Some question whether the laws are being followed.

The cell phone law was credited with some drops in talking while driving, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California, which studied driving patterns in Orange County. They found that cell phone use behind the wheel was down 58 percent in May 2009.

Still, Christy Zorn, 26, said she constantly sees people talking on cell phones or typing on their iPhones and Blackberry devices as she drives Highway 91 in Riverside.

"I'm not sure the law did anything to stop it," Zorn said. "...I see it more than ever."

Through August 2009, 8,580 of the 138,294 citations issued by the CHP for talking on a cell phone were handed out in the Inland Division, comprising most of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to CHP figures.

"I know people who have received tickets from Riverside police," said Sam Leggio, 24, of Riverside.

Leggio said she was one of many drivers who bought hands-free devices shortly before the law took effect. Though she follows the law, Leggio said she agrees distracted driving is a problem.

The deadly crash a year ago today has helped spark a federal crackdown on distracted driving on roads and rails - a phenomenon that officials say has gotten out of hand in an era of ubiquitous cell phone use.

Metrolink engineer Robert Sanchez - a man who lived for years in Riverside and San Bernardino counties - had been sending and receiving text messages in the minutes before he blew through a stop signal and slammed into a freight train, killing himself and two dozen others.

More than 130 people were injured in Metrolink's worst-ever crash and the nation's deadliest rail accident in 15 years.

"We know that if that fellow had not been texting and had not been involved with a device while he was charged with the responsibility of driving the train, lives would have been saved," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday. "There's just no question about it."

At the end of the month, LaHood plans to hold a two-day summit in Washington to assess the need for new or strengthened rules and laws meant to prevent driver inattention. Participants will include law enforcement officers and transportation officials from around the country.

At the time of the crash, Metrolink had rules in place outlawing the use of cell phones by train operators, but the Federal Railroad Administration and inspectors from the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state's rails, could do nothing to enforce them because there is no federal law in place at the time.

Metrolink has since added a second engineer to some locomotives and has begun installing surveillance cameras. The Federal Railroad Administration also issued an emergency order banning cell phone use in the nation's train cabs after the wreck.

The purpose of this month's summit is to compile a set of recommendations for improving safety on roads, and rails. They are likely to include a proposal for the creation of a sweeping federal law against sending or receiving text messaging while operating a vehicle.

"I'm for outlawing the use of texting while driving," LaHood said. "I think the Congress should do that."

Personally I like the idea - but let's take it up a notch or two.
IF you text and get into an accident, you have no rights to mitigate for personal damages.
Since you would then NOT be able to seek damages, then you must post and bond your home as collateral for any damages to any other persons/objects damaged or destroyed by your negligence.

13-09-2009, 12:10 PM
If you did that though you would have young people who don't own anything but their car and phone getting into huge amounts of debt that will never be paid.

Although without the law do insurance companies pay if your at fault because of texting/calling while driving?

13-09-2009, 01:14 PM
That's all most young people own already. Technically they don't have to pay out as you were not paying due care and attention you'll find something about it in the small print no doubt.

No phone call or text message is worth risking your own or someone else's life over not even mega business deals but then the people who make those kind of deals have a chauffeur.

13-09-2009, 02:36 PM
If you did that though you would have young people who don't own anything but their car and phone getting into huge amounts of debt that will never be paid.

Although without the law do insurance companies pay if your at fault because of texting/calling while driving?

It's called: Torte Law in California and if you are doing something that is illegal when you commit or cause an accident, you have no coverage and no right to redress in court - in fact the court will not even hear you in the first place.

The insurance companies can walk off if a Torte was committed at the time of the accident and that includes failing to wear a seat belt or wearing it incorrectly or any equipment/component failure that was maintenance related and obscured vision, tinted windows or burned out headlamps.

But - that being said, you have to have insurance and everyone also has to have UIM insurance - which translates to "Uninsured Motorists' Insurance" or "UNDER Insured Motorists' Insurance" which kinda smacks of duality and double enterdré to me.

It's illegal to NOT have insurance and it's also illegal to NOT have UIM too.

Kinda goofy - Wot?

13-09-2009, 03:18 PM
It's called: Torte Law in California

Pretty sure it's not a law about cakes.