Design Template by Bikingtoronto

« Arlington County Commits to Sustainability/Cycling | Main | NPS Issues Draft EIS for the National Mall »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

In DC, is operating a GPS unit (etc) banned even while stopped at e.g. a traffic light?

The law doesn't explicitly mention GPS, but it does state that it only applies while operating a moving vehicle. GPS probably qualifies under section 3 which bans all distracted driving, but I'd like to see it named in the law.

“Distracted driving” means inattentive driving while operating a motor
vehicle that results in the unsafe operation of the vehicle where such inattention is caused by
reading, writing, performing personal grooming, interacting with pets or unsecured cargo, using
personal communications technologies, or engaging in any other activity which causes
distractions.

GPS should also be required to be displayed someplace other than the dashboard or windshield. It creates a huge obstruction on a windshield.

How do you know if someone is texting etc? What actions are allowable? Enforcement of all these laws is very difficult.

Here is an idea.

The bottom line is that we want drivers to be safe for everyone on the road. Therefore, any accident causing property damage is 1 week suspension, injury is 180 day suspension. Death is loss of license. Only way to overturn this is by proving that you were operating the vehicle in safe manner, and you must give complete access to the police to all your email, etc accounts. The burden of proving that you were driving safely goes back to the driver.

What this does is that it treats driving as a privilege. The punishment is not a fine, or jail, but denial of that privilege. Tens of thousands of people each year would be forced to walk, bike, etc, and would have to reconsider their use of the road, and have to see the world from the perspective of those unprotected by 2000lb of steel.

Re: movies.

Me too! It happens ALL the time. Just this weekend, I was watching "His Girl Friday" (1940) and Cary Grant went to get something from his pocket and my immediate impulse was "he's reaching for his cell phone". Not so much (cigarette case, I believe).

Catherine, for me it was Die Hard. McClain spends 20 minutes trying to contact the police, but nowadays someone at the party would call 911 on their blackberry.

SJE, I think you can tell by looking at someone if they're texting while driving. And anytime you have a phone in your hand (unless calling 911 or one of the other exceptions) you'd be violating the law.

You can tell if you are riding next to them. Not so much if you are in a cop car and they are driving past

The other reason I like this rule is that we can still have the other rules (e.g. against texting), but do not need to get worried about enforcement. Also, it covers all sorts of distraction, from fiddling with the radio, picking up a lighter, to whatever new technological foible will emerge that is not yet specifically banned.

While I like the sentiment, the problem is that we usually don't make people prove their innocence unless the state has first proven their guilt, and I like that rule. Simply hitting another road user is not proof of guilt.

Innocence until proven guilty applies if the person is being punished and can be conceptually distinct from withdrawing a license.

Actually, I don't think the Virginia law is very well drafted. As written, it could ban listening to music via your phone*, tracking your workout out with it, etc.


*Actually, I'd be perfectly happy to see a ban on headphones on the road, but I don't think that's the intent of this legislation (and it would be rather odd to make it an offense to do it with my Treo, but not my iPod).

I think having your license taken away would be a punishment.

There are already far worse forfeiture laws that have not been struck down yet, and license suspensions are common.

@JTS:
I think GPS devices pretty much have to be used on the windshield, as they need a clear view of the sky to work properly.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009

Categories

 Subscribe in a reader