Monday, October 19, 2009

Maria’s Mistake: Cell phone Use While Driving

According to the US Department of Transportation, nearly 6,000 people were killed and a half-million were injured in car crashes caused by distracted driving in 2008. They said that using a mobile phone while driving is almost as dangerous as driving drunk.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that in a nationwide survey last 2008, female drivers more frequently use hand-held cell phones than male drivers. Apparently, even the First Lady of California and Kennedy scion, Maria Shriver is not immune to the bad driver habit of using a cell phone while driving.

She recently got caught on video using her cell phone while driving in Brentwood. A rather ironic twist as it was her husband, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who made cell phone use illegal while driving.

In California, there is in fact a primary enforcement of a jurisdiction-wide ban on driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone.

All drivers are prohibited from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle although motorists 18 years old and over may use a “hands-free device.”

The first offense base fine for subsequent convictions is $20 and $50. But along with penalty assessments, the fine can be more than triple the base fine amount.

Governor Schwarzenegger said that there will be swift action regarding his wife’s cell phone law violation and recently, Maria Shriver has announced that she will donate her favorite old cell phone to a program that helps domestic violence shelters.

It just goes to show that distracted driving is an encompassing problem which affects even influential people,like celebrities and government officials whom the public often hold in high esteem. Picking up a call while driving may seem like a harmless thing but the bottomline is, it is still against the law. Maria Shriver’s well-publicized cell phone use infraction just shows that no one is above the law.