Is the penalty for using a cell phone while driving too harsh? Some local … – Sun News

cell phone ban sign.jpgPeople caught using their cell phones while driving in some cities face a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Cleveland area residents say the penalty for talking or texting on a cell phone
while driving is excessive.

Drivers caught in the act in
cities with cell phone bans face a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in

“That’s exorbitant; just too
stringent,” Shaker Heights resident Al Plummer said. “A $1,000 fine and jail time is just too much.”

A new law banning drivers
from using any hand-held electronic device went into effect Wednesday in Shaker
. Police will warn drivers until May 25, when they will start writing
tickets. Drivers still may talk on their phones if they use voice-operated or
hands-free devices.

“The cell phone ban is a
wonderful thing, but jail time is ridiculous,” Shaker resident Joann DiPasquale

“It’s overkill,” Maria
Stewart of Maple Heights added. “Something needed to be done because there are
too many accidents, but that’s excessive.”

Shaker Heights Mayor Earl
said most violators will be fined the same as any other traffic ticket.
In Shaker, the penalty is $210 for running a red light or driving through a
stop sign.

“People don’t need to be
concerned because they are just getting a traffic ticket,” Leiken said. “Instead
of worrying about the high penalty, people need to be worrying about
disciplining themselves and not picking up their cell phones while they’re

Shaker Heights Prosecutor Randy
Keller said the maximum penalties are reserved for “the most extreme and
egregious circumstances, such as loss of life or enormous property damage.”

Still, some say no price is too high to pay if it
means saving lives.

“There are way too many
people getting hurt, paralyzed and even killed,” Shaker resident Bridget McKnight
said. “The law and the harsh penalty are needed to get people to stop texting
and driving.”

Shaker joins a growing list
of cities – including Beachwood, Brooklyn, Pepper Pike, North Royalton, South
Euclid and University Heights – with cell phone bans.

“Think about your mother
leaving here too soon or your child who was well on his or hew way to a bright
future having their life cut short just because someone was texting and
driving,” Julius Tate of Parma said. “How much is a life worth?”

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