Friday, February 23, 2001

James pushes safety bills

State Sen. Donzella James is getting serious about protecting her constituents.

In recent days, James has proposed two pieces of legislation that are focused on safety.

The first bill would make it a misdemeanor to operate a cellular phone in a car, unless it is equipped with a handset or hands-free device.

Before the session started, James pledged to bring this bill to the Senate floor. Many other smaller jurisdictions around the state are also looking at similar legislation.

If the bill passes, the cell phone user could be fined up to $50.

James also wants to make the streets safe for pedestrians. She has sponsored a bill that would focus drivers' attention on the pedestrian.

According to the bill, the driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a painted crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching and is within one lane of the half of the roadway on which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning.

A violation of this law would result in a fine of $25 to $250.

But the bill also makes it clear that pedestrians do have responsibilities.

The bill adds that no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield.


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