The Water Cooler – Fines for Not Using a Hands-Free Device in the Car

April 24, 2014 12:00 pm · 52 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Do you believe there should be a larger fine for talking on your cell phone without a hands-free device while driving? Currently, the fine is between $100-$200.

Talk about it….

Mr. John April 24, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Sure. It needs to hurt enough that people don’t get over it quick. I’d rather it be 4 days of community service rather than a fine, though.

The Biz April 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Truckers have used their CB’s for years and drive far more dangerous vechicles than the average driver. The problem isn’t the phone, the problem is all the horribad drivers we license and continue to let pollute the roads.

Adam Carolla did a test where he got drunk and was still able to better navigate an auto-obstacle course than sober people.

Get horrible drivers off the road. That’s the real problem.

Lori April 24, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Community service is a good idea…. along with a hefty fine

Horse n around April 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I like Mr. John’s idea. Taking time away from a person sometimes, is better than taking money away.

Concord74 April 24, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Use of hand-held or “blue-tooth” and you get caught or have or cause an accident, it should be a moving violation!

A lousy fine is quickly forgotten.

@ The Biz April 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM

And I would be willing to bet that you are one of those amazing drivers that can talk or text and your driving doesn’t suffer one teeny tiny little bit. So sad. Idiots like you are killing people every day. “It’s the other guy. I am a good and capable driver. It isn’t the phone, it’s the driver”.

Do some research. Cell phone use is more dangerous and more deadly than drunk driving. And also do some research on CB use and accidents.

Make the fine hurt. Take away the vehicle for 90 days. Cell phone use is an epidemic and needs to be stopped. But I doubt it will happen. We will continue to kill people just like we do with drunks. “Mr. Smith killed 4 people last night on his way home from the bar. He had 5 previous drunk driving convictions.”

Dorothy April 24, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Large fine that increases with each incident and community service that gets longer with each incident. You can tell I don’t believe some people learn much the first time.

oldman April 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM

@Mr John,
I recommend living next to you for 4 days.

CVHS Class of '90 April 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM

People know the law and the fines and they continue to not care and not use hands free devices. This became a law in what, 2008? It is high time people got with the times. So yes, the fine is justified.

I too was taught in Drivers Ed’s in Mr. Zino’s class at CVHS to drive with your hands at 10 and 2. Now you see a lot of morons thinking they are cool by putting one hand hanging over the top of the wheel and that’s it.

Road King Terry April 24, 2014 at 12:41 PM

sadly it’s a me first society, it’s a culture of irresponsible activity. But until it’s inforced with a stricter approach it will remain the same.

The Jihadist April 24, 2014 at 12:41 PM

OFF with their hands!

Wizard April 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Absolutely! With all of the accidents around Claycord, something needs to happen.

Suzanne April 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Definitely charge them up the wazoo!

Rose April 24, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I agree with community service…makes sure you service well.

Me April 24, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Honestly I’ve seen more bad driving SINCE the law was passed. Why?–all the people trying to hide the use of their phone, that and texting. I saw one guy swerving a bit and he had his smart phone mounted to his windshield, actively texting in plane view on Hwy 24. I flashed my brights a couple times and he put the phone in his lap but I could still tell he was using it. His head was looking down now instead of pretending to look at the road as before.

So I say, keep the ban on texting but allow holding the phone while actually speaking. It’d serve us all some good to actually speak to one another and the eyes would at least be on the road.

Sacto Rob April 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Everyone should just shut up and drive.

wow April 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

$500 fine and 1 point on your record

Kirkwood April 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

I think the fine should be increased into 4 digits, it might help a little but the reality is that people don’t expect to be caught because observation/enforcement is so difficult. The only thing that will really work is something that disables a phone of any sort while a vehicle is in motion. Remember, we are in the 4th generation of people who have taught their kids that anything is ok until you get caught. If caught, try to divert the blame.
Driving is an activity unto itself. The advent of cup holders was the beginning of the end.

Anon April 24, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Fines for Not Using a Hands-Free Device in the Car? I hope not, sometimes I drive in my car with my Hands-Free Device and I’m not using it. Why should I be finded for not using it? 😉

Jim Shoes April 24, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Larger fines and stricter enforcement. Everywhere you look people are driving and texting/talking.

Distracted Driving April 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

There should be hefty fines for any type of distracted driving. For cell phones and texting, the fine should be MUCH higher. I think community service is a great idea. Community services should be wrapped in with the fine along wiht a citation so the points will go against their driving record.

anon April 24, 2014 at 1:56 PM

No checking or use of cell phone while doing community service. Go cold turkey for 8 hrs straight.

After being sited for using a cell phone or April 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM

texting, the drivers license should be suspended for 30 days. If found driving during that 30 day period, the loss of the license is permanent and registration of any car will be forbidden.

When people refuse to be responsible for themselves, then the government is forced to step in and force people to be responsible. The general lack of even moderately good character among people these days results in a tyrannical government that these same clueless people revere.

Honk April 24, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Too many times I have had to honk at the driver in front of me when the light changed and they are still texting and not paying attention.
Start the fine at $5000 people will still talk and drive.

anon April 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Wait untill more and more people start using Google glass while driving and talking on the cell phone at the same time.

The Real McCoy April 24, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Texting and driving is as dangerous as DUI and the punishment should be the same.

Almost killed April 24, 2014 at 2:57 PM

You know what? I think a drivers license revocation for 90 days is a good start. Then if it happens again or they are caught driving without their license, the need to lose it for a year. After that, jail time. When you talk on the phone while driving, you are saying that other lives are not important.

Kirkwood April 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM

People who have their driver license suspended will drive anyway. Concord PD has done stings to people leaving the courthouse after having their license suspended by the judge, go to their cars and drive away.

Me April 24, 2014 at 3:20 PM

@Kirkwood “The advent of cup holders was the beginning of the end.”
That’s a good point. My drivers ed teacher forced us to go through the drive through and order fries. AND, he’d get mad if we didn’t eat while driving since he paid for them. Actually I think it was his way of getting us to be a little less tense on some very busy roads. Good times.

Nate Nice April 24, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Hand-free isn’t any safer than holding a cell phone and talking, so either all cell calls while driving should be banned or none should be banned. And I agree that Community Service would be a better punishment.

No April 24, 2014 at 4:02 PM

They should just enforce the law now and people might pay attention to it.

Mark April 24, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Fines are too steep. Talking should not be illegal. It is texting that is causing the accidents (my guess). Community service or fine, violator’s choice. Penalties should increase with each violation unless a specified amount of time passes between violations.

Jerk April 24, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Did my not wearing a seatbelt harm anyone else?
Yet, Concord PD was acting like you were a terrorist if you were not wearing a seatbelt. I hope they will stop being lazy and have the same Zeal for the cell phone offenders. You cell phone MORONS ARE ENDANGERING others around you. Hang it up.

Anon April 24, 2014 at 5:17 PM

How about enforcing laws equally. Too often public servants and their family members live under a different set of rules. And no it shouldn’t be accepted as a job perk.

Atticus Thraxx April 24, 2014 at 5:36 PM

It’s a tax. A “you weren’t paying attention” tax.

MrDioji April 24, 2014 at 7:13 PM

It’s people paying more attention to what they’re saying than what they’re doing (i.e. driving) that is the problem. The physical position of the phone matters not. Hands free is just an illusion of a solution.

Julio April 24, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Agree with MrDioji. Concentrate fully on your driving not talking on any type of phone. That fine should be huge. It has to hurt like a DUI. Both things cause death.

Antler April 24, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Wow at #12 …… Sounds about right!

Big Al April 24, 2014 at 8:46 PM

$500 to $5000. Yes.

Reality Slap April 24, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Not hands-free ? How about confiscating the cellphone and issuing the fine….now you’re not only hands free, your wallets a little freer too.

Michelle April 24, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I gave my opinion earlier, it hasn’t changed.

SoClay April 24, 2014 at 9:33 PM

Nothing will change, chances of getting caught are very slim.

pt April 25, 2014 at 3:54 AM

Sure, confiscate the phone and hold it for 90 days and a $500.00 fine for first offense. Double both each successive incident. See how long that would last.

Bill P April 25, 2014 at 4:36 AM

I saw a sign on 680, on Monday, that the fine is $1641, WOW

Chevrolet girl April 25, 2014 at 5:48 AM

I wish I could hand out the fines. Everyday there is some idiot who thinks talking one the phone is more important than driving. For some reason they always swerve my way. I wish I drove a bumper car so I could smash into them. Ban all cell phones while driving, there are already too many things to pay attention to while driving.

Punishment needs to fit the crime April 25, 2014 at 7:20 AM

Speeding, running red lights, and changing lanes without a turn signal are all FAR more dangerous than talking on a cell phone. Maybe the penalty for these offenses should be death?

Be careful what you wish for. When it’s shown that cell phone laws don’t actually do anything to decrease the number or severity of traffic accidents, the next law will ban eating and drinking, or listening to the radio. If that doesn’t work, maybe a $1000 fine for driving with one hand.

The fact that so many people continue to use hand-held phones and we still have the “normal” number of crashes would indicate that they aren’t as dangerous as some people think, and certainly not as dangerous as DUI. Just think if everybody talking on a phone were drunk instead. I have a feeling that would result in far more accidents.

Some of us are old enough to remember driving without cell phones. Guess what? People still drove like crap, still had accidents, and still died on the roadways.

If you really want to save lives, go back to the 55mph speed limit.

The Observer April 25, 2014 at 8:12 AM

When the odds of getting a ticket are only slightly greater than getting struck by lightning, even the death penalty wouldn’t be much of a deterrent.

Jessica April 25, 2014 at 9:29 AM

There should be a much harsher penalty, $1641 is not enough. I drive the straight and narrow, no swerving. No! Fine Them or worse!

Anon April 25, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Larger fines won’t stop them. They don’t believe for a second that they are doing anything wrong. It ‘s just like making a California stop, a habit you can’t get rid of.

Anon El Dorado April 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Our elected officials propose and pass laws that continue to infringe upon our freedoms. Constitutional rights are being tossed aside at an exponential rate in America. We will soon get to a place where the only right we have is the right to remain silent and the only freedom we have is to go to work and have the government redistribute our earnings to ensure the continued growth of Government. You can’t legislate and it is not the job of government to attempt to legislate “common sense”. I suggest we don’t give driver’s licenses to anyone with an IQ of less than 120.

When we elect people April 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM

they are our REPRESENTATIVES, not leaders, not officials.

Don’t give these elected clowns any more credit than they are due. People who run for office generally can’t hold down any other job. They make a great deal about how great they are, in reality they work for us, like a servant.

Treat elected representatives like the slaves they are. If they don’t do the job, find someone who will.

Got the Ticket & Still Disagree April 26, 2014 at 9:02 AM

I actually got one of the tickets for using the phone while driving. Bluetooth had disconnected and wanted to hang up politely on my boss. Took 2 minutes and still was given a ticket. It was only a $150 fine but when you add court costs and driving school to keep it off my insurance and it was closer to $350.

The fine is a nuisance, driving school is now online. Thus, those “fees” don’t work. I don’t talk and drive anymore but know folks who do. Force car manufacturers to build in Bluetooth and that will help. Force the phone companies to build in motion sensors to automatically forward in bound call to v-mail and block out bound calls and texting. Don’t allow them to pass the minimal cost to consumers. My phone can already tell me my speed, direction and what lane of a freeway I’m in when giving directions – don’t tell me they cant do it.

The technology is there, they just need to implement it.

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