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BEACHCOMBER- Driving with Dogs

  • By David Barron

Recently, the state passed a law limiting our use of cell phones. The state law prohibits all of us having a cell phone at our ear while driving a car. Now, the state has another law that will take effect next year. It will prohibit you from text messaging and otherwise dialing your cell phone while driving.

While I agree with these two laws, and wonder how effective they will be. Certainly, the confirmation that a train engineer
was text messaging and missed a red signal, killing many people, makes this law even more meaningful. How many times have you honked at the driver in front of you because they were distracted by other matters and didn’t see the light signal change to green?

Despite the danger and risk from people talking, dialing or text messaging on cell phones while driving, how realistic is it to believe that lawmen (& women) will vigorously enforce the new law? Sure, when the law first goes into effect, traffic officers will be watching out for it.

What about six months from now…with the cell phone law be enforced then? Take for example the laws requiring children to be in special car seats. I see many children unrestrained in cars and jumping around. Sure, if the driver is stopped for some traffic violation, a responsible officer will check to make sure all passengers are wearing seatbelts The officer will also check to see if their was any cell-texting going on, too.

Along with this, he’ll check for empty beer cans, marijuana cigarette stubs, driver’s license, registration papers and insurance. Meanwhile, he’ll run a DMV check to make sure the care is not stolen. A new law was recently proposed prohibiting drivers from having dogs on their laps – while driving. This kind of makes sense.

Being an animal lover, I would worry that one of the pooches would get hit in the eye by a foreign object – or in worst case, fall out the car. As a pet lover, I strongly support the regulation that dogs in the back of pick-up trucks need to be=2 0secured so that they won’t jump off onto the road.

But getting back to people, I want to know how many of you ever did any of these activities while driving? combing your hair, shaving, applying cosmetics, dressing, tying shoe laces, eating, moving to the beat of the radio, smoking (ugh), cuddling up with your partner, yelling at the kids, reading a newspaper, checking a map, reading directions.

Recently, I saw someone watching television as they drove. I am not kidding. The TV monitor was mounted on the dashboard.
The next time a traffic officer stops you, he/she will have a foot-long clipboard listing all of the potential distractful violations and try to figure out which ones are prohibited. Remember, the fine is $20 per offense.

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