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Julie Spira

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Texting While Driving? Californians Will Be Paying More

Posted: 08/16/11 11:27 AM ET

There's no digital debate needed. Using your mobile phone while driving to talk or text is against the law in most states. It's also bad netiquette, if there's another passenger in the car. I've gone on record as saying, "No text is worth dying for." It's not about the price of the fine, but it's about the value of your life and those of others on the road.

The Mercury News reports that California Legislature has passed a bill to increase the fine for using your mobile phone without a headset from $189 to $309. Assuming Governor Jerry Brown passes the law, a text-it ticket will go on your record as a moving violation. This would include bicyclists chatting on their mobile devices while riding, and they do.

The need to be constantly connected changes with each new technology introduced. I've pulled over to the side of the road to check my iPad when I've received a Google alert, but I've seen people with their iPad's on their laps while at a red light and they don't remove them when the light turns green.

Californian residents have seen their share of deadly texts and tweets. In 2008, 25 passengers on a Los Angeles metrolink train were killed because the engineer was texting while he should have been driving the train. It was a horrific tragedy and could have been prevented. In the summer of 2010, Celebrity surgeon, Dr. Frank Ryan, known for being Heidi Montag's plastic surgeon, was killed in a car accident in Malibu. His mobile phone records showed that he had just tweeted about his dog prior to the incident.

At the end of the digital day, driving while texting breaks the rules of netiquette. It's not just a distraction; it's an obsession, and a deadly one at that.

Are you still using your mobile phone without a headset? Will an increase in the fine be enough to make you think twice about doing so?

Your comments and thoughts are welcome.

For more information on netiquette, visit Facebook.com/rulesofnetiquette

Julie Spira is the author of The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web.

 
 
 

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