New Cell Phone Law Statistics and Excuses
Rocklin, Calif. -On July 1, 2008, new legislation was enacted that made it illegal to drive a vehicle while simultaneously using a hand held mobile or cell phone.
Much of the Rocklin Police Department’s enforcement in July concentrated on education for the public regarding the new laws even though other law enforcement agencies started out with zero tolerance for violations. Our plan included the handing out of literature which explained the new law to those who were stopped and warned for the violation and to those who were stopped and cited. Our enforcement in August, while still focused on education, has switched to enforcement.
In July, the Rocklin Police Department gave 77 warnings to drivers for cell phone usage and issued 9 citations. So far this month 3 warnings have been given and 54 citations issued.
Our Traffic Enforcement Motorcycle Officers have stopped the majority of citizens for violation of this new law. They have heard quite a variety of excuses from violators as well.
Here are some of the excuses and/or reasons given by drivers:
“I haven’t figured out how to use my Bluetooth yet!”
“I was trying to find out if the volume was up on my phone because I couldn’t hear anything out of my Bluetooth”
“The fine is just a business expense, I’ll write it off.”
“I just plain forgot about the law.”
“I can’t stand that stupid ear piece.”
“I have the blue tooth but don’t know how to connect it to the phone.”
“I had it on speaker.” (While still holding it in their hand.)
“My Bluetooth doesn”t work. The battery is dead.”
“I was waiting to get a ticket before I spend money on a Bluetooth.”
“My wife said I sounded like I was in a toilet so I switched back to cell.”
“I heard it was a second offense thing and you cannot stop me just for talking.”
“Is it not more of a hazard to fumble around trying to get the ear thing in?”
“I wasn’t using my phone. I was just resting my head against it!”
One driver, when spotted by a motorcycle officer, flipped his cell phone shut and acted as if he was using an electric shaver while driving.
Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. The law allows drivers to use a wireless telephone for emergency purposes and drivers of commercial vehicles to use push-to-talk phones until July 1, 2011.