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SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 10:36 AM   #1
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SB 1800

As you may or may not have heard, California is considering a law called SB 1800, the so-called "distracted driver" bill. Many other states are considering similar bills and are eyeing CA's progress.

Under this proposed law, you would be fined up to $150 for:

• Use of a cell phone
• Use of an electronic device, including personal digital assistant
• Adjusting entertainment system controls
• Eating or drinking
• Grooming, such as applying makeup, brushing hair
• Smoking
• Reading or writing
• Interaction with passengers

The "probable cause" for the police to stop you under this law is any abberant driving such as speeding up, slowing down, weaving or wobbling of any amount within your own lane, etc. In other words, almost anything.

Is it just me or are we piling on a few too many laws to avoid behavior that MIGHT cause something bad to happen?

I've always liked accountability, and dont have a problem with doing things that lead to fewer problems. That having been said, I've probably paid out about $10,000 in fines, legal fees and other sundry costs associated with having been ticketed for stuff that "might have caused a problem". But I've never been in an accident, never damaged anyones property, and never hurt anyone.

Dont get me wrong. A bad driver with a phone in one hand and a cheeseburger in the other is a worse driver. The problem here isnt the phone or the cheeseburger. I remember just as many "dumbo driver" stories before cell phones existed and I see dangerous driving performed every day where the driver has both hands on the wheel.

The worst parts? Despite "studies" to the contrary, accident rates in equalized studies have gone DOWN in the last 20 years even though cell phone usage in cars has skyrocketed. In the state of new york and european countries where cell phone usage has been made illegal, accident rates have not changed one bit.

In some cases they get you coming and going. A recent CHP suggestion was to pull to the side of the road to make a cell phone call. However, in the state of California, pulling to the side of a highway is illegal unless you are experiencing an emergency...
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: SB 1800

A cell phone and a cheeseburger is no problem. Sometimes I have trouble eating a salad in a high-speed turn, though. Damn baby tomatoes roll all over the place.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 11:41 AM   #3
 
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Re: SB 1800

TH my friend, you ain't seen nothing yet! Every aspect
of your life will be controlled to the maximum extent possible by various laws, regulations, computer
tracking, government sponsored search and seizure. There is no end to this.
It has been going on for my entire life and the pace is
accelerating. One result is that all citizens will become
guilty of something and can then be fined or imprisoned
at the whim of a plethora of law enforcement/government agencies/bureaus, courts,
etc etc etc, ad nauseum. The investments we discuss
all the time are uncertain in the end result. My
"prediction" is not. In fact, it's proven to be 100%
accurate every day. That's why I no longer vote and to a large extent why I ERed when I did. The whole process is malignant, the prognosis terminal insofar
as individual liberty is concerned.

John Galt

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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 11:59 AM   #4
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Re: SB 1800

Ugh. Unfortunately John I think you're right. I actually quit voting a couple of years ago when my only reasonable choices became people who could never be elected in a million years and my favorite "none of the above".

But then what right minded person would run for office these days anyhow?

I saw something recently that claimed the average person breaks 5-10 "laws" a day, mostly automobile moving violations, jaywalking and other such.

The fact that its illegal in CA to obscure "any part of a license plate" and that most cars have dealer installed decorative license plate frames that obscure part of the plate is a good enough start...

I consider such violations like "shark attacks", they happen unpredictably, usually are costly, and unless you decide to stay out of the water, arent very avoidable nor are they particularly behavior changing. I think we could cut down on the number of traffic cops needed by simply randomly sending a violation notice to a specific number of people every day. Kinda like the lottery in reverse.

One of my recent favorites...you're allowed to take "traffic school" in CA every 18 months and this wipes an ordinary traffic infraction from your record; the insurance company never sees it. I just took this for my recent $400 ticket for running a yellow light that was yellow all the way through the intersection. In the class, roughly half had no idea who has right of way in a merge situation, and two thirds had no idea what the safe distance is to travel behind the car in front of you. Slightly less than half agreed with the instructors suggestion of "more than 10 feet?".

Wab...get the salads where they cut the tomato's up into chunks. I've measured 3g's in tight turns with a cut tomato salad with no loss of vegetation. Or better still get one of the ones that comes in the sippy cup, strap it to your nog with a big rubber band and nosh away.

Actually I've regularly driven while on the phone (handsfree) and eating a cheeseburger. I was somewhat limited in my ability to avoid other drivers weaving, speeding, tailgating and making blind u-turns but I managed to avoid any accidents.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 12:17 PM   #5
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Re: SB 1800

Quote:
...you would be fined up to $150...
Sounds like the politicians have found a new revenue source. They are more than happy to sit around all day and dream up ways to extract more cash to feed the beast. I have noticed that their solution to virtually every problem, real or imagined, brings in more revenue for the government, or more special interest group contributions to the polititicans.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 03:04 PM   #6
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Re: SB 1800

This is why our Governator has threatened to reduce the legislature to part time status. Apparently part time legislators still get the work done, and have less time to cook up goofball legislation...
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: SB 1800

TH:

Regarding traffic ticket.

Next time you get a ticket, instead of spending 8 hours in a class room, you can take a course through the internet that took me about an hour and a half to complete for a ticket I got 2 months ago.
A good idea to attend traffic school, as your ins. carrier will hit you pretty good for violations, and the additional charge goes on, and on, and on.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 04:37 PM   #8
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Re: SB 1800

Quote:
. . .

The "probable cause" for the police to stop you under this law is any abberant driving such as speeding up, slowing down, weaving or wobbling of any amount within your own lane, etc. *In other words, almost anything.
. . .
It always worried me when States started allowing roadblocks to check for drunk drivers. Although I'm all for getting drunk drivers off the road, the idea that we would allow police to stop anyone and everyone just to find out if they were breaking any laws seemed like a slippery slope. I think my fears are beginning to look well-founded. We need safe roads, but I would be a lot more comfortable if we found some way to attack the problem that didn't involve these kind of laws and tactics.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 04:53 PM   #9
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Re: SB 1800

Quote:
Every aspect of your life will be controlled to the maximum extent possible by various laws, regulations, computer tracking, government sponsored search and seizure. *There is no end to this. It has been going on for my entire life and the pace is accelerating.
I have seen a dramatic erosion of privacy and liberty in my workplace and it's one of the reasons I ER'd when I did. Our freedom is slipping away.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: SB 1800

Christ, $10 000 in fines! What are you running down there? A police State?
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-29-2004, 06:25 PM   #11
 
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Re: SB 1800

Re. TH's comment about "Da Governator" and his idea
to convert the California legislature to part time status...............
I for one would be more than happy to pay all of them to just stay home. They sit on their behinds and we just mail them their checks. That way, at least they
can work no mischief. It would be a good deal.

Reminds me of the old saying (forget who said it first)
" The Republic is never in more danger than when the
legislature is in session." I believe this, truly!

John Galt
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-30-2004, 11:32 AM   #12
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Re: SB 1800

Interestingly enough, most states dont have full time legislatures and they seem to manage fine. Our full time one never gets a budget through in time.

As far as the 10k goes, I may have been conservative as I did say "legal fees" were included.

Among my "achievements" in traffic stops were getting charged with posession of a controlled substance during a routine traffic stop, a felony in MA...said controlled substance being aspirin tablets and vitamin pills I kept in small unmarked containers in the car, and a DUI charge after drinking two glasses of beer after skiing and getting pulled over for speeding.

In the first case, the cop insisted there were other substances in the car that he lost in the process of bringing me into the station. Later he alleged that while I was in handcuffs, I may have gotten my hands on and destroyed the evidence. Yeah right. Six trips to court and it wasnt until I got a lawyer that it was resolved. In about 10 seconds. Which was good because I was holding a Top Secret clearance and a nuclear access Q-clearance at the time and this could have cost me those and hence my job. I later found out that the cop had pulled over a van a month earlier and found it full of dope, so he now thought he was supercop.

In the DUI charge, I supposedly failed all the roadside tests and had a .13 BAC. Except once we got our hands on the patrol car camera film, which the cops first said didnt exist, then said they lost, then finally produced, you can clearly see that I failed nothing. When we reviewed the blood test work, we found the following. The guy who took the blood wasnt medically qualified to do so, there was no chain of custody, the guy who tested the blood didnt document the work until 21 days after he performed the test and there was no clear answer as to how he maintained the results, nor is there any standard for that (cocktail napkin?), and on retesting the sample, it wasnt my blood. I heard later that only a handful of people have gone to the trouble and expense of challenging the states labs on blood tests and that in many of those challenges the lab supplied the wrong blood.

After the 4th trip in to court with a crotchety judge that was a month away from retirement and had threatened to revoke my bail twice, and in light of the evidence, or lack thereof unless you want to count police perjury and lab incompetence, I agreed with the prosecutor to plea me out to a couple of moving violations although the fines, insurance company boosts and so forth cost me several grand on top of the legal costs. I'd have taken it to trial, but that would have been another $7500, the lawyer repeatedly mentioned "you can never tell what a jury will do", and "it should go your way but if it doesnt the judge could put you in jail for up to six months". I dont have that kind of faith in my fellow man.

Your justice system in action. And why we dont need any more vague laws.

Of course, theres a great ER tie in...I could have retired a year earlier or had more money right now without all this.

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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-30-2004, 12:17 PM   #13
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Re: SB 1800

Quote:
TH:

Regarding traffic ticket.

Next time you get a ticket, instead of spending 8 hours in a class room, you can take a course through the internet that took me about an hour and a half to complete for a ticket I got 2 months ago.
A good idea to attend traffic school, as your ins. carrier will hit you pretty good for violations, and the additional charge goes on, and on, and on.
Jarhead...which one did you use so I can keep that for future reference?
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-30-2004, 02:42 PM   #14
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Re: SB 1800

It's hard enough getting the gumment out of our bed rooms now they want to lurk in the cars of our California brothers.

BTW, does "interaction with passangers" mean that we can no longer have sex in our cars? Has the bedroom problem come full circle?
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-30-2004, 11:03 PM   #15
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Re: SB 1800

Based on my experience regarding sex in cars, it would most certainly qualify as substantially distracting, and would have been well worth a hundred and fifty bucks penalty.
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Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-31-2004, 05:30 AM   #16
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Re: SB 1800

TH:

Name of internet traffic school:

Happy Traffic School. (Name makes you pleased that you have to attend, huh?). Their phone number is 800 582 8025. Cost was $14.95.
I know one of the gals that works at Superior Court, and she gave me this , as the best one on their approved list.

Good luck. (Remember to wait at least 18 months before using
Make sure you check with your court to be sure above is on their approved list. (We're in different counties).
Regards, Jarhead
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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-31-2004, 01:05 PM   #17
 
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Re: SB 1800

"Happy Traffic"? An oxymoron if there ever was one.

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Re: SB 1800
Old 05-31-2004, 01:12 PM   #18
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Re: SB 1800

Yeah the names are pretty funny, I just looked at some. The one Jarhead mentions isnt certified in my county. Anyone want to wonder why california has budget problems? Every county does everything themselves separately and distinctly from every other, and even within a county some courts accept the approved schools and some dont.

Not many worries about the 18 month limitation. Despite my highly amusing legal wrangling, I've only been stopped 3 times in 12 years.
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