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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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New law stalls drivers’ conversations

Most drivers see the same scene every day: the stereotypical commuter who manages to drive down the highway, talk on the cell phone, eat breakfast, take notes and check their investment portfolio all at the same time.

With the advancement in wireless communication, law enforcement agencies work to keep the roads safe. According to California Highway Patrol Officer Brett Boss, many automobile accidents are caused by diversion such as cell phones and radios.

?I have seen accidents caused by many cell phone related distractions; instances where drivers were dialing and ran into the person in front of them,? Boss said. ?In one case an accident was caused because the driver dropped their cell phone and they were distracted by picking it up.?

According a new law effective in June 2008, drivers must use a hands-free device for cellular communication.

?The new cell phone law bugs me,? Natalie Douty, sophomore English teacher, said. ?The car is where I can talk with the least amount of interruptions and now being forced to have everything hands free will make talking way more complicated.?

While adults will be allowed to use hands free devices, the law prohibits minors from using cell phones at all. Still, others find the new regulation a nuisance.

?I don?t agree with the law because it is going to be very frustrating in instances where I absolutely have to talk to my parents in cases such as family emergencies,? Riley Endicott, ’10, said. ?It is going to be a big hassle to pull over to the side of the road to make a phone call.?

While the police can pull adults and minors over for using a hand held devices, the law prohibits officers from stopping a minor from using a hands-free device. However if they are pulled over for another violation, they can be fined for the cell phone as well.

The fines for violating the new cell phone usage laws are $76 for first time infractions and $190 for each thereafter. While these fines may seem steep, officers believe that the high price will stringently discourage illegal cell phone usage.

?I can see where this law might help,? Tatiana Fontes, ’10, said. ?It will make drivers less distracted which will make the roads safer.?

According to Boss, anything that helps eliminate diversions on the road benefits all other drivers.

?Hundreds and hundreds of distraction related accidents occur each year, caused by virtually anything that can distract you in the car such as changing the radio station, talking to passengers or dialing the phone,? Boss said. ?Many of these are related to cell phone distractions and anything that helps reduce distractions is a plus for drivers.?

Even though many students have become accustomed to driving and talking or texting, come June they must adapt to the new regulation or face the consequences.

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    Kelsey HartMar 12, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I wish that we did not have finals because they mess up my grades really bad.

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