First and foremost, there is an exception for any driver that is reporting a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity. This became a topic with one of our awesome dispatchers last week when a driver reported a possible intoxicated driver and was nervous about calling, since the new cellular telephone law went into effect. We took a few moments to explain the law with this caller and put her at ease. Remember, if you see vehicle that you believe is being operated by an intoxicated driver, please call, using utmost care, of course. The law also encompasses several exceptions; for example, utility workers responding to an outage or emergency if the telephone is provided by their employer; fire, emergency medical personnel and police personnel utilizing a phone within the scope of their employment; and, licensed amateur radio operators providing communication during an emergency.
The statute calls for warnings on cellular telephone violations for the first three months; however, beginning in January 2012, citations may be written. The fines are progressive in nature and will increase respectively with the number of citations issued. The amount of the first citation is more than the cost of the standard hands-free Bluetooth device.
The traffic on the truck route remains a challenge for us, as well as those who live in the area. While the construction project will be completed shortly, we ask for your continued patience as you navigate among the tourists and your neighbors. We continue to staff the truck route nightly as we work to thwart “jake brakes” and motorist exceeding the posted speed limits.
With the holiday season fast approaching, please drive carefully and be patient as you navigate through our construction zones. Until next month, stay safe!
John Chase can be reached via his e-mail address at Jchase@bcnv.org.