The evidence keeps piling up – along with dead and mangled bodies – that use of electronic communications devices while driving is taking a heavy toll. But it’s not like Americans are going to go back to the days of pulling off the road to make calls from a phone booth.
So what are the best actions for drivers and lawmakers to take to minimize the carnage from use of cell phone calls, texts and tweets on the highways? Read the rest of this entry »
Many thanks to the AAA of Northern California for sending me a concise roundup of all the driving-related state laws kicking in in 2008.
First and foremost is the one that has probably led to more confusion than the last 100 California ballot measures. I confess that just prior to July 1 of this year, I thought we were supposed to go hands-free with the mobile phone or face the consequences (Those would be $20 for the first offense, $50 thereafter, which I suspect for many will considered the cost of doing business).
But, as AAA’s Sean Comey notes, that particular law, along with its no-cell-no-text-no-anything-while-driving-under-18 counterpart passed this year, don’t actually kick in until July 1, 2008. So Californians, gab away, but try to practice with the earpiece occasionally so it won’t be such a shock this summer.
I hesitate to call attention to someone else’s correction, particularly because I’ve had two of my own in short order. For a journalist, that’s enough to keep you up at night.
Still, we learn from our mistakes, and even fatal mistakes can teach others, to paraphrase Al Franken.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spokespeople provided a teachable moment for me when they quoted their boss saying:
“With motor vehicles contributing to roughly 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is imperative that we be granted the fuel waiver from the federal government.”
The occasion was today’s decision in Fresno by U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Ishii that California has the power to regulate tailpipe emissions for cars and light trucks, a category that includes SUV’s.
After being called a traitor to bicycling earlier this week, I got to thinking: What we commuters need is a little comfort.
That’s partly why 70 percent of Bay Area commuters drive solo. It’s more comfortable to be enclosed in your own vehicle, to be able to choose the radio station, to chomp noisily on that breakfast burrito and to engage in ghastly personal grooming habits that even members of your nuclear family wouldn’t tolerate.
Not to belabor a single e-mail, but this bicyclist named John who heard me on KQED’s Forum program had a point:
Sure it’s `scary.’ The point, obviously, is to make it not scary. That’s why the other cities have things like colored bike lanes, protected Read the rest of this entry »
After reading an editorial about the 50th Anniversary of the Interstate Highway System and its state of disrepair, reader Ann S. wonders who pays for the upkeep:
When I used to do that kind of traveling, there was always a big thing over the highway and it said, Weigh Station Ahead, and the trucks had to stop and pay some money on the grounds that they were heavy and the weight was crumbling the highway. My question is, do they still do that, make pay trucks pay according to weight, because the weight is what’s crumbling the highways as described in your opinion piece June 18.
I called Ann, who explained that at age 74, she doesnt get out much, but excepted my eyewitness account of the continued Read the rest of this entry »