Banning all phone use while driving brought before CA lawmakers

Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-11 01:53:02-04

Distracted driving kills thousands of people every year according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Now the board is asking lawmakers here in California to ban all phone use while driving.

Currently in California, you can take calls through Bluetooth or a hands-free device like a dashboard mount, but this recommendation would take that away.

A local Uber and Lyft driver says it would make his job nearly impossible.

“We receive calls from riders when we are going to pick them up for a different change of direction or different location of pick up and without being able to do that we wouldn’t be able to service our customers,” said Steven Kastner, a local Uber and Lyft driver.

This recommendation is brought up as National Distracted Driving Awareness month kicks off.

“What better place to start than is here in California and I did say if California will lead NTSB stands by them to support the legislation.”

Distracted driving is something the California Highway Patrol is already cracking down on locally.

“The average text to say ‘be home in 10’ takes you about four and a half seconds to pick your phone up and wake it up and start the text at 60 miles per hour you can travel over 100 yards,” said Mike Poelking, a CHP spokesperson. “A lot can happen in 100 yards if you’re not looking at the road.”

If a ban like this were passed, he says it might be hard to catch drivers in the act.

“How would you enforce that? How would you know? You don’t have a microphone to hear if they are talking to somebody inside their vehicle,” said Poelking.

A Cal Poly student worries people would be more distracted trying to hide their phone than they would be using it hands-free.

“If you know it’s against the law, maybe you’re worried a cop is going to drive by so you are trying to look down at your phone and hide your phone and then you get even more distracted from the road,” said Faith Lucas, a Cal Poly student.

Lawmakers would have to draft and pass a bill for this to take effect.

In California, you can use your phone during an emergency, but local agencies like CHP and SLOPD are cracking down on distracted drivers in April.

You can expect to see more officers enforcing the hands-free law.

In just one day, SLOPD issued 52 citations to drivers violating the hands-free cell phone law.

Since the beginning of this year, CHP has given out about 150 distracted driving citations from San Luis Obispo to Nipomo.