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How to stop texting behind the wheel: Impound drivers' phones

How to stop texting behind the wheel: Impound drivers' phones
A driver uses his hands to operate a phone while behind the wheel, which is illegal in California. (Tero Vesalainen / TNS)

To the editor: I have a suggestion to add to David Lazarus’ idea of blocking drivers’ cellphone signals: Why not increase the fine for people caught holding a phone behind the wheel?

That penalty should include impounding the phone for 24 hours in addition to a $250 fine. The total cost would be in the neighborhood of $500 to get your phone back.

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That won't stop everyone from using a phone while driving, but it will most certainly create an extraordinary inconvenience to anyone caught. Just the process of getting your phone out of impound would be a pain in the wallet and a severe blow to your communication abilities.

Ed Nassaney, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: To disable drivers’ cellphones, I suggest including software on all devices that prevents use whenever the location sensor signals that the phone has been moving at a speed of 5 miles per hour or faster within the previous two minutes.

In emergencies, this software could enable use upon entry of a special number. However, in each such instance, the user should have to file a document describing the circumstances that justified unlocking his or her phone.

Passengers might complain that they would not be able to use their phones in a moving car, but I think that is a reasonable price to pay to improve safety.

G. Joseph Buck, Redondo Beach

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To the editor: I was out on my bicycle recently when I made a right turn into a shopping center’s driveway, where there were two cars lined up to leave.

As I passed the first driver, I looked back and saw her light turn yellow. In other words, she had texted through the entire green cycle. I imagine the driver behind her must have been texting too, as no one was honking.

Several months ago, while I was riding my bike along the same road, I came to a red light. I turned around and saw a car waiting to make a right turn, but the driver was staring at the phone on his lap.

A minute later, when the light turned green, the driver was still there blocking everyone behind him and with the road in front of him completely clear.

As a cyclist, I feel very vulnerable to people who text while driving. So yes, some technology that stops use while driving would be nice.

Barry Carlton, El Cajon

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