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Raise fines for those who text while they drive

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle

The story of a Sonoma State University freshman who allegedly ran over a toddler while texting on a cell phone is tragic. The toddler, 2-year-old Calli Murray, had just begun what her bereaved parents described as a bright and happy life.

Meanwhile, the life of Kaitlyn Dunaway - the 18-year-old who has been charged with vehicular manslaughter - will never be the same.

The case underscores the fact that texting is one of the worst forms of distracted driving. The California Office of Traffic Safety places it alongside drunken driving as one of the leading causes of crashes that result in fatalities or serious injuries. It’s time for it to be punished accordingly.

“The question is, are people going to understand the seriousness of this behavior?” said state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. Simitian has authored a bill, SB28, that’s passed the Senate and is awaiting votes in the Assembly. It would raise the base ticket fine for texting while driving from $20 to $50. Repeat offenders would have to pay $100 as a base fine and suffer a point on their licenses.

View the full story (San Francisco Chronicle)