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A Press Democrat Blog

Road Warrior

Trying to make sense out of getting around

Think driving and phoning risky? Then why do people do it

Nearly 9 in 10 drivers say those who use cellphones while driving are a safety threat, but nearly 7 in 10 said they used their cellphone behind the wheel at least once in the past month, an AAA study finds. And nearly a third said they drove while using their cellphone fairly often in that previous month. Among other highlights of the national survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued this month: –About 95 percent said it’s a… Read More »

What to say when you call 911 about an accident

You’re out and about and a car crash happens right in front of you. You quickly dial 911 on your cellphone to report it. But was that the right thing to do? But here are a few tips to ensure the right emergency agency is contacted and you give the right information. Cindy Jones, a communications supervisor with Santa Rosa police, recommends that you program into your cellphone the seven-digit emergency number for your local police and fire departments. The… Read More »

Can you use cellphone at red lights?

Can you use your cellphone while you’re stopped at a red light? After all, you’re not actually “driving,” right? A Richmond man took that argument to the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco and lost. Carl Nelson appealed his traffic court conviction in Contra Costa County, saying that he used his phone while he was stopped at the red light in December 2009 and that “driving” requires movement, according to court records. He was ticketed after a motorcycle… Read More »

West Santa Rosa intersection target of police

Santa Rosa traffic police officers this Monday through Sunday will monitor one of the city’s seventh most dangerous intersections — Stony Point Road at Glenbrook Drive, which last year was tied with nine traffic collisions. As part of a weekly special enforcement program, officers particularly will be looking for drivers not wearing seat belts, who are illegally using cell phones, are speeding, running red lights or committing lane violations. To read about the city’s other top intersections for collisions, CLICK… Read More »

Higher cellphone fines, including for bicyclists, possible

The state Senate today passed a bill that will make it a lot more expensive to illegally use a cellphone or to text while driving — or while bicycling. The legislation, Senate Bill 28 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the measure. The bill, approved 23-13 by the Senate and 51-21 on July 14 by the Assembly, would raise the base fine of a driver’s first violation to… Read More »

Mailbag: Illegal to use phone’s GPS while driving?

A Road Warrior reader asked the other day if it is legal to use your cellphone’s GPS system while driving. The answer from CHP Officer Jon Sloat, spokesman for the Sonoma County office, is yes, it is legal, because the law regarding cellphone use only specifies holding it to talk or to text. However, Sloat noted, you could still get a ticket if the officer believes that while you’re fiddling with your GPS that you’re driving at a speed that’s… Read More »

Cellphone crackdown today

Local police are cracking down today on drivers who not going hands-free with cellphones or are texting. It’s part of a month-long, zero-tolerance campaign by dozens of police agencies statewide to ticket drivers who are being distracted by using their cellphones, texting or even such things as eating or grooming. Most police agencies have joined in on specifically designated days, and today’s effort covers most of the Bay Area. Santa Rosa police today plan to have about 10 officers focused… Read More »

New cellphone fines for drivers, bicyclists?

If you text or hold your cellphone while driving or riding your bicycle, you might face a steep increase in fines. The state Senate on Monday approved 24-12 a bill that would raise the base fine of a driver’s first violation to $50, which with fees would total about $300 a ticket, and the base fine for subsequent violations to $100, which with fees would be about $500. The bill also would add a penalty point on motorists’ driving records… Read More »