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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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CA restricts drivers’ cell phone use

Both driver’s licenses and first cars contribute to building excitement for teens looking to advance their independence. However, this year young drivers must take note of new laws coming into effect next summer.

Governor Schwarzenegger passed a law, which prohibits all teens under 18 from the use of all electronic devices including cell phones, mp3 players and laptops, on Sept. 13. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, this law and another order which forbids all drivers from using cell phones without earpieces will be enforced on July 1, 2008.

Students express skepticism as to whether this legislation will alter their own as well as peer?s driving habits. Victoria Breedlove, ’10, recently received her driver?s permit after completing a driver?s education class.

?I don?t think that this law will help cut down on the number of teen driving accidents at all,? Breedlove said. ?The people who already use their cell phones when they?re driving are going to continue to do so. A law isn?t going to stop them.?

According to cellular-news.com, California law makers are not alone in their attempts to increase safety among teens. While five states are in the process of debate, 19 have passed legislation on this issue.

Brock Lopes, ’10, anticipates the ability to drive in the next few months and urges the rule to be enforced to those older than 18.

?It would be beneficial for this law to be extended to people who are under 21,? Lopes said. ?Even 18 year olds are pretty new to driving. They shouldn?t be able to use electronics either.?

Legislators have equitable reason to worry about the younger generation, because, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to crash than older drivers.

Renee Idsinga, ’08, has been driving for one year and occasionally uses her cell phone while behind the wheel.

?I don?t really think that this law is going to make an impact,? Idsinga said. ?I?ve never been in an accident, even though I use my cell phone to text message sometimes. Also, it is necessary to use your cell phone when you?re lost. If you?re getting turn for turn directions, you can?t just pull over, because you need to find specific streets.?

Teen Driving Information reports that 14% of fatal car accidents include drivers ages 20 or under.

?Suppose you see someone who has been in an accident while you?re on the freeway,? Breedlove said. ?It?s not always an option to pull over when you?re in the middle of traffic. This law is encouraging us to neglect our responsibility as citizens and not report an accident.?

According to the new law, minors will face a fee of $20 for the first offense and $50 thereafter if caught using electronics.

Jenna Reed, ’09, discourages drivers using electronics, but has her reservations about this specific legislation.

?This law is going to be incredibly difficult for police officers to enforce,? Reed said. ?By passing this law, our government is kind of showing people that they can actually get away with breaking the law. The police can?t keep an eye on everyone to see whether or not they are using their phone.?

Cynthia Ward, junior high secretary, considers herself a confident driver, but also admits to becoming overwhelmed on occasion while using her cell phone and driving.

?I know that I get extremely distracted when I?m on the cell phone,? Ward said. ?I?m an experienced driver, but I have forgotten to turn off of the freeway because I was too involved in my conversation. For me, being on the phone is as distracting as having a screaming baby in the back seat.?

For more information regarding the topic, or to express thoughts or concerns, e-mail the governor, or contact the CA Government district offices.

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