Q The electronic "Amber Alert" sign on Interstate 680 near Walnut Creek has been posted with "Texting and Driving. $159+ ticket -- Not Worth It." My first reaction is the phrase "Not Worth It." How about not worth killing someone, not just how much you may have to pay if you get a ticket? I understand they want to educate folks that texting is against the law, and therefore you can get a ticket, but it just seems like the emphasis should be on the ramifications of what could happen if you cause an accident, not that you might be out some money.
And why is it only $159? A carpool violation is worth over $450, and I don't see breaking the carpool law as a dangerous event, whereas texting while driving is. Don't those amounts seem out of whack to you? Do I write to my congressman about this?
If you get caught texting and driving, the minimum fine should be $500 and two nights in jail.
I am all for doubling of cellphone fines to improve the state's coffers.
We need to really grab the attention of drivers who text. Make the fine a cool $1,000.
Jennifer Spoon, Gary McCormick, Meenakshi Srinivasan, Gordon DeRemer and many more
A I agree that the $159 fine for texting and using a handheld phone is ridiculously low, but it could be going slightly higher. State Sen. Joe Simitian has introduced SB 1310, which would raise the fine from $159 to $199 for a first offense and to $371 for a second ticket.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a Simitian bill last year that would have doubled the fine to more than $300, saying that penalty was too steep. He was wrong on that account and took some heat over his veto. I hope a smaller increase will gain his signature this time around.
The bill would also put a point on one's license for a second offense, which could increase a driver's insurance costs if they do not attend traffic school.
For bicyclists, the first offense would be $20 and the second $50. That is the total they would pay, and there would be no points for a second offense on a driver's license. Bicyclists are currently exempt from the hands-free law.
To contact Brown, go to http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php, call 916-445-2841 or write him at the State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Q Gary, please keep sharing stories from readers on the horrors they see when other drivers are texting or talking on a cellphone, hands-free or not. Maybe some of the clueless will read them and get a clue.
A Oh, I most certainly will, and here's one from me. Mrs. Roadshow was behind the wheel last week as we crept along the Highway 101 carpool lane south of Redwood City. She noticed a red Subaru wagon in the adjacent lane going slower, leaving a gap of 4-5 car lengths behind the vehicle ahead. "He's texting," said the always eagle-eyed Mrs. Roadshow.
Yep, he appeared to be doing just that. Head down, no eyes on the road. We pulled next to him, and I began counting to see how long before he looked up -- more than 15 seconds. He finally noticed me staring at him and when he did, I threw up my hands in exasperation. He turned away with a blank look, and resumed texting.
Q I was in Texas for a business trip, and while riding a bus back to the hotel I noticed the following message on the electronic signs over the freeway: "You Talk. You Text. You Crash."
Short and to the point.
A I like it.
Q Concerning your comments about bicyclists needing to signal, the real problem is that if they need to signal, they would have to stop texting. Seriously, during a trip to Stanford, we observed two bikers texting.
A After all this, I need something to lighten me up.
Q I got a new iPhone with Siri voice command and I asked Siri for information for the Home Depot store in Milpitas. Siri answered:
"Home Depot Male Penis? I don't know what you mean."
A LOL -- big time!
Join Gary Richards on KLIV (1590-AM) Tuesday at 7 p.m. for an hourlong talk about traffic in the Bay Area with Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, at 408-575-1600. Look for Gary at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335.