As of tomorrow –July 23, 2017 — it will be against the law for Washington State drivers to use hand-held cell phones while they are driving. This applies to all electronic devices, including tablets, laptops and video games. Tickets for driving while using hand-held electronics will go on a driver’s record and be reported to their insurance provider:
In this post, I am not particularly picking on California as such, because the weird situation I’m about to describe apparently happens in many, or maybe even all states (see the Massachusetts example in the photo below).
On July 20, 2017, the California Department of Motor Vehicles published this on its Facebook timeline: ‘Don’t litter! The fine is $1,000, & you may be forced to pick up what you threw. Convictions go on your driving record.’ (Our italics, for emphasis.)
An attached photograph on the DMV post shows a picture of somebody dropping trash from the driver’s door window of a white car.
In response to the California DMV post, a gentleman called Mike Ridgway wrote: ‘So how much is the fine for “driving while texting”?’
Around mid-day on July 21, the California DMV replied: ‘Mike Ridgway – The base fine for the first offense is $20, and $50 for subsequent convictions. With penalty assessments, the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail’
You will have to make your own mind up about the rationale for having a fine for dropping litter at $1,000 or even $10,000, as opposed to the fine for potentially lethal texting-while-driving being as low as just $20. But what does this situation tell us about crash-prevention priorities and the value of human life, here in America?
Twenty-five years ago, in 1992, the World Medical Association — the world’s top doctors — made a recommendation that no country on earth should allow a blood-alcohol limit higher than 0.05 percent. Things started to move early in this new 21st Century and suddenly virtually all of the nations in Europe and many countries elsewhere had dropped their limits from 0.08% (or equivalent) to 0.05%.
Utah has now taken the laudable step of becoming the first state in America to follow suit and introduce this life-saving legislation, but the uninformed are now appearing out of the woodwork, hollering and howling in protest.
I wish you fortitude, Utah. Stick to your excellent principles and save even more lives!