“JULY 1 PROHIBITION OF USING CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING”

  • By:Winer Bennett

Effective on July 1st of 2015 New Hampshire RSA 265:79-c will go into effect. This law prohibits the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. As of July 1st, it will be a violation to use a cell phone to make a call with three notable exceptions. Those are:

• While making a 911 emergency call;
• To use one hand to make or receive a non-cellular two-way radio call; or,
• To use a hands-free electronic device integrated into a motor vehicle.

There are special enhanced penalties for drivers who are 18 years of age or younger. These drivers may not use any device at any time except for making a 911 emergency call. These drivers will also be subject to a license suspension or revocation under RSA 263:14 III.

The penalties for violation of the prohibition include a $100 for a first offense, a $250 for a second offense, and a $500 for any subsequent offense within the 24 month period. All of these fines will, of course, be subject to a 24% penalty assessment.

The law is in response to several high profile cases where individuals hurt others or themselves due to inattention while texting or talking on a cell phone. All of us have experienced the distracted driver who is all over the road. When we finally make it past them, we often see that they are talking on their cell phone. This bill promotes public safety and gives notice to the driving citizenry that full attention to what you are doing is necessary while driving a vehicle.

We in New Hampshire take our civil liberties very seriously and are generally opposed to laws that tell us how to behave. “You can’t Legislate responsibility” is the war cry of many a New Hampshire Legislator. In some cases, however, it becomes necessary to establish rules that will establish order in everyday life to eliminate chaos. This is one such law. The intrusion into individual liberties is slight while the focus on the protection of safety is justified.

The real effect of the law over time will be driver’s use of integrated hands free phone systems within their cars. Most cars made after 2008 have the integrated systems at least available. There may also be a market for installing such blue tooth systems within a car to allow the drivers to make telephone calls while still complying with the law. We are all going to have to change our behavior and the time to do so is upon us.

By Kent Barker

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Posted in: Criminal