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Friday, October 16, 2009

Drivers Ignoring Cell Phone Ban; Big-Screen TV Energy Limits Coming

From an article yesterday by Michael Farrell in the Christian Science Monitor:

California First Lady Maria Shriver may be the only California driver to be caught on video thrice yapping on her handheld phone by celebrity gossip website TMZ. But she certainly isn't alone. Every month, thousands of motorists flout the state's ban on talking on handheld cellphones while driving. Shriver's cellphone saga has raised questions about how many Californians are actually heeding the ban on talking while driving.

Some say that Californians followed the law when the ban first came into effect in July 2008, but have now slackened off. Last month, the California Highway Patrol issued 12,277 cellphone citations. That's 4,498 more than the department handed out in July 2008. In total, highway patrol officers have written 150,497 tickets for mobile phone violations since last year. Says one highway patrol officer who spoke with the San Jose Mercury News: "People seem to be ignoring it now.... That is why if I see them and can get to them, I give them tickets."

From an Oct. 14 article by Marc Lifsher in the Los Angeles Times:

The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions. On Tuesday, executives and consultants for the Arlington, Va., trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission to instead let consumers use their wallets to decide whether they want to buy the most energy-saving new models of liquid-crystal display and plasma high-definition TVs.

Last month, the commission formally unveiled its proposal to require manufacturers to limit television energy consumption in a way that has been done with refrigerators, air conditioners and dozens of other products since the 1970s. California's estimated 35 million TVs and related electronic devices account for about 10% of all household electricity consumption, the Energy Commission staff reported.

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