Tag Archives: Texting

California considers a new tax for sending text messages

From Fox News: California state regulators have been working on a plan to charge mobile phone users a text messaging fee intended to fund programs that make phone service accessible to the low-income residents, reports said Tuesday.

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal next month, but critics have already come out against the scheme, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“It’s a dumb idea,” Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business group, told the paper. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”

While the amount consumers would be expected to pay remained unclear, some business groups are saying the new charges could cost wireless users more than $44 million a year, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.

Charges may also be applied retroactively to messages sent in the past five years, which has raised questions concerning the proposal’s legality, Rufus Jeffress, vice president of the Bay Area Council, told the San Francisco Bay Area’s KNTV-TV. The “alarming precedent” could chalk up to a bill of more than $220 million for consumers, the Mercury News reported.

The wireless industry argues that the fees would put carriers at a disadvantage since competing messaging services like Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp would not be charged the new fees, FOX11 reported.

Those against the proposal said that wireless customers already pay into the state’s Public Purpose Programs, which they call “healthy and well-funded” with nearly $1 billion in its budget, the Mercury News reported. But state regulators disagree, saying the budget has increased more than $300 million over six years, KNTV reported.

Residents lamented the potential tax, calling it “dumb” and “unfair.”

“To have them charge us something else is just dumb,” a Bay Area resident told KNTV. “I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already.”

DCG

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NTSB recommends no texting while driving…

Because you don't know better...

NTSB: Drivers should be prohibited from all wireless phone use

King5 News:  Texting, emailing or using a cellphone while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed anywhere, federal safety investigators declared Tuesday, recommending that all states impose a total ban except for emergencies.
Inspired by recent deadly crashes, the recommendation would apply even to hands-free devices, a much stricter rule than any current state law.  Washington state has laws against texting while driving and against driving while using a cell phone without a hands-free device.
The unanimous recommendation by the five-member National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS) would make an exception for devices deemed to aid driver safety such as GPS navigation systems.  Board chairman Deborah Hersman acknowledged the recommendation would be unpopular with many people and that complying would involve what has become ingrained behavior for many Americans.
While the NTSB doesn’t have the power to impose restrictions, its recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers. Another recommendation issued Tuesday urges states to aggressively enforce current bans on text messaging and the use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices while driving.
“We’re not here to win a popularity contest,” she said. “No email, no text, no update, no call is worth a human life.
Currently, 35 states ban texting while driving and some bar cellphone use or emailing with hand-held devices. But enforcement is generally not a high priority, and no states ban the use of hands-free devices.
Read the rest of the story here.
We all know texting while driving is dangerous.  So is drinking and driving.  So is turning around while in the front seat to break up a kids fight in the back seat.  Drivers have many distractions and are responsible for paying attention to the task at hand.  And as a driver, you are responsible for paying close attention to other cars around you.
If “no call is worth a human life” is the basis for this recommendation, what about all the other car accidents that occur?  No human life is worth someone looking down at the radio then slamming into another car?  No human life is worth someone speeding, losing control, and crashing into another car?  Shouldn’t we just ban cars altogether then?
There are folks that will ignore the driving while texting laws, possibly endangering many other drivers.  Sure, there are consequences for reckless driving, but that is no comfort to those that lose loved ones in car accidents.  When is the government going to realize you can’t regulate common sense?
DCG

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