California’s new official language: Text messaging

California is currently being rattled by no less than three different issues surrounding text messaging – at the city, state, and Federal levels.

1. Sacramento residents will vote in November on whether a utility tax on telecommunications should apply to text messages.

2. While California’s ban on talking on handheld cellphone while driving, beginning July 1st, doesn’t apply to text messaging, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto has introduced legislation to add text messaging to the phone ban.

3. The case of an Ontario, CA police officer complaining that his superiors snooped on his personal text messages has resulted in a 9th Circuit ruling that “employers can’t read employees’ text messages if they’re sent through an outside service. They can’t even read email unless it’s stored on the employers’ servers.”

The only commentary I have on any of these regards banning text messaging while driving. Bottom line: it should have been included in the original law, as should have been a flat out ban on use of cell phones while driving. Its not the lack of one hand that makes people drive less safe – its the mental distraction of talking to someone in a different space that causes drivers to drive without their full attention.

BTW, I wrote this while thing from my Blackberry while sitting in traffic.

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