Judge: ‘Hands free’ means no hands. Period.

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Wedging a cell phone between your shoulder and ear qualifies as hands-free driving -- at least in the eyes of the Yukon courts. The Canadian territory's distracted driving law is simply too mushy, a judge ruled. A Marsh Lake man fought his distracted driving ticket and won, saying that he was using the smartphone's speaker with both hands on the wheel. A Yukon Courts judge agreed with the low-fi approach to hands-free and dismissed the ticket Jan. 13. The judge said the government should clarify the territorial law and pointed to more specific legal wording used in British Columbia … [Read more...]

South Carolina writing texting tickets

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South Carolina drivers who text while driving now can be stopped and cited for the distracted driving offense, as the new law's six-month warning period has elapsed. Tickets range from $25 (first offense) to $50 (subsequent). Distracted drivers will not see points vs. their licenses for infractions, meaning insurance rates will not increase for violators. Enforcement is primary, meaning police are empowered to stop and cite drivers who are texting for that reason alone. The South Carolina texting & driving law does not affect use of cell phones for making calls. Drivers will be able … [Read more...]

NYC distracted bicyclist law proposed

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New York City bicyclists would be prohibiting from using smartphones and similar devices under an ordinance proposed by a Brooklyn councilman. City Council Member Mark Treyger says he was inspired to file the legislation after witnessing a distracted bicyclist nearly cause a multivehicle crash. Treyger cited an increased number of crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians in recent years. "The city also has an obligation to promote safe cycling and to take steps to eliminate all forms of distracted driving and riding," Treyger, D-Brooklyn, said at a Nov. 14 press conference. "It … [Read more...]

San Antonio OKs handheld cell phone ban

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San Antonio, the second-largest city in Texas, has outlawed use of handheld cell phones, effective Jan. 1. The city joins Austin, whose ban on the wireless communications devices also goes into effect with the new year. The moves come as chances for enhanced statewide distracted driving laws took a blow with the Nov. 4 election. Governor-elect Greg Abbott shares the current governor's dislike of efforts to "micromanage" electronic communications device use by the state's adult drivers. San Antonio's ban comes with a fine of up to $200 after a 30-day grace period. The city plans an … [Read more...]

New N.Y. penalties, suspensions in effect

Andew Cuomo

New York drivers who text message or use handheld cell phones are looking at new maximum fines for the offenses. Young and new drivers, meanwhile, are flirting with a yearlong loss of their licenses for electronic distracted driving violations. "Driving habits are developed early, and we are sending a message that texting while driving is unsafe, unacceptable and downright dangerous," Gov. Andrew Cuomo (pictured) said in announcing the tougher distracted driving penalties and suspensions. "There have been far too many avoidable tragedies due to texting while driving, and with these new … [Read more...]