Opinion & Editorial

Through the Eyes of the Colonel: New law goes into effect July 1 regarding driving and texting

There’s a new updated law effective July 1 this year. In just a few days the law governing the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving, will result in pretty stiff fines.

The basic requirement listed: IT IS ILLEGAL TO DRIVE WHILE HOLDING OR USING A MOBILE ELECTRONIC DEVICE (e.g. CELL PHONE, TABLET, GPS, AND LAPTOP). Fines resulting listed are: First offense, not contributing to a crash: Class B violation, Fine up to $1,000. Second offense, or first offense, if it contributed to a crash: Class A violation, Fine up to $2,500. Third offense in 10 years: Class B misdemeanor, Fine up to $2,500 and could be six months in jail.

If someone wishes to dispute the veracity of an electronic device violation, they can subpoena cell phone records from their cell phone providers.

There are exceptions such as hands free or built-in devices, if 18 years of age or older, I suppose that is the driver not the equipment. Single swipe to activate, call for medical help, use when parked but not at a stop sign or light or stopped in traffic, two way radio in scope or employment, and other rules that apply of commercial operations.

These rules are meant to deter drivers from using electronic devices while driving. There have been many accidents caused by drivers dialing, texting answering or being distracted while using cell phones. This is an extra hazard that is detrimental and terribly dangerous to all of us on the streets and highways. I would guess that insurance rates or cancellation would also increase for persons convicted of this offense. Driving safely involves a certain amount of skill and requires un-divided attention. I certainly believe that a phone call can wait a few more minutes or caller can leave a voice mail to respond later.

An arrest is bad, but injury or death is far worse.



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