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Students support hike in texting fines

Michael Phillips
Copy Editor

Though many believe that young adults do not truly understand the dangers of driving while texting, La Verne students understand the dangers and accept the laws and fines placed on the activity.

“I feel that it is appropriate because many people text while driving and cheaper fines are not stopping people from doing it,” said freshman accounting major Umair Amjad.

Conducting an informal survey on campus, 16 out of 20 students on campus agreed with the increased amount of fines for driving while texting.

“I’d love to see the fine price raised because I hate when people text and drive,” freshman psychology major Diana Huizar said.

The initial California phone law went in to effect July 1 2008, but with fines of $76 for the first offense and $190 for the second offense, many believed the fines were too lax.

According to the University of Utah, distraction from cell phone use while driving, even with a hands free device, hinders a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 percent.

In the United States driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.8 percent is considered driving under the influence and results in a DUI which suspends an individual’s license and fines them at the least.

The Senate Bill 28 approved on April 25, will raise the price of texting and cell phone usage tickets as well as mandate a driver’s license point after an individual’s first offense.

Now, depending on where the ticket is received, the driver can be fined up to $309 for a first offense and $509 for a second offense.

The cost of a second offense fine has been raised approximately $200.

Ten dollars from each fine will go to education programs about the dangers of distracted driving.

The Legislation only sets the base fine while cities and states add surcharges and additional fees dramatically increasing the cost’s of fines.

Distracted driving is said to be the most prevalent cause of driving though incidents involving cell phones whether its phone calls or text messages are believed to occur on a more frequent basis.

A study at Carnegie Mellon shows reveals that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

Texting is believed to be even more dangerous due to the fact that people take their eyes off of the road to read or respond to a message.

People also take additional precautions in hiding their cell phones which increases the dangers of the activity while driving.

Some University of La Verne students have received tickets from cell phone usage while driving, which has deterred their use of cell phones when behind the wheel.

“I think it is good, so that more people will stop doing it, the more expensive you make it the less likely people will do it,” said junior public administration major Allen Daniels.

However for some students the fines and statistics are not enough to persuade them to believe the fines are necessary.

“I love texting, you can receive a life or death text message at any time whether you’re driving or sleeping,” said freshman business administration major Oseas Chavaque.

“I do not see a need for it there is not enough texting and driving incidents, well that I am aware of,” said senior psychology major Roddy Cobb.

After the cell phone ban laws were placed institutions began conducting research to determine if there were any changes.

The Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a study and found no reductions in crashes after the ban was placed in to effect.

Even with the results and the varied support and disdain for the laws the cell phone ban is continuously extending and changing in hopes of reducing the number of accidents resulting from distracted drivers.

Michael Phillips can be reached at michael.phillips2@laverne.edu.

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