Cameras May Enforce Texting While Driving

The city of Scottsdale, Arizona may take it a step further and is considering using its photo enforced cameras to enforce distracted driver laws. Photo enforcement cameras in Scottsdale are capable of detecting behavior such as text messaging or other “distracted driving” behavior, in addition to capturing speeders and red-light runners. But whether Scottsdale pursues such enforcement as part of a proposed text-messaging and distracted driving law remains to be seen. “We’re able to see people clearly on their cell phones,” said Josh Weiss, spokesman for American Traffic Solutions, the company that operates the fixed cameras and camera-equipped vans on Scottsdale surface streets.

On September 24th, 2008 the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 28 (SB 28) into law. The new bill “Prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication." The new bill will impose a fine of $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses starting January 1, 2009. No violation points will be given as a result of the offense and there are exceptions for emergency personnel.

The bill requires motorists to use hands-free devices while talking on a mobile phone when driving a motor vehicle. California motorists using cell phones have been required to use hands-free devices since July, and drivers under age 18 can't use any electronic devices. Seven other states and the District of Columbia ban text-messaging or the use of hand-held phones while driving, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.