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Hands-Free Cell Phone Law Goes Into Effect
By Ray Yono :: Monday, June 30, 2008 :: 37350 Views :: Law & Order

California, USA - Chaldeans in California prepare as new hands-free cell phone law goes into effect tomorrow.  “Anyone over 18 using a handheld cell phone while driving is going to get stopped and ticketed,” says Jason Shunia, manager of World Wireless in San Diego.

Violations result in a first-offense fine of $97 in San Diego County and $211 for a second offense.  The new state law requires adult drivers to use an earpiece, headset or speaker with their cell phones; drivers younger than 18 are not allowed to use any wireless devices – for speaking or text messaging. All drivers in California, even from other states and countries, are expected to comply.

Chaldean wireless businesses are doing their part in helping to educate consumers.  “We are passing out fliers about the new law and offering customers upgrades or earpiece options,” says Shunia.  “We want to help keep our customers safe and free from paying unnecessary fines.”

The California Highway Patrol said that statewide last year, 1,091 crashes with 447 injuries were blamed on drivers using cell phones.

Under new state Vehicle Code sections 23123 and 23124 that go into effect tomorrow:

 Adults drivers 18 and older may not use a handheld, wireless telephone without a hands-free device.

 Drivers younger than 18 may not use any wireless phone, even with a hands-free device. They also may not use pagers, two-way messaging devices, mobile radios or broadband personal communication devices.

 An exception allows adult and juvenile drivers to make emergency calls for police, fire or medical assistance on a wireless phone.

 The law does not apply to passengers. It does apply to drivers from other states where hands-free devices are not required.

 Drivers can be pulled over and given a ticket solely for using a wireless phone without a hands-free device.

 Violations result in a first-offense fine of $97 in San Diego County and $211 for a second offense.

 The Department of Motor Vehicles will record violations but not add points to a driver's record.

 Emergency service professionals are exempted from the law.

Two-way radios operated by a push-to-talk feature may be used by drivers of commercial trucks, farm vehicles and tow trucks.

 The DMV notes that other adult drivers may use a push-to-talk feature attached to a hands-free earpiece or other hands-free device.

Chaldeans have noted that different cities within their county are handling things differently.  Police in San Diego and Oceanside plan a month long grace period before they start strictly enforcing the law.  Oceanside police Sgt. Kelan Poorman said his agency favors education over enforcement at first. However, he said, officers will be allowed to write a ticket if they feel a warning isn't sufficient to drive home the message.

Other agencies around the county don't see the need for delayed enforcement.

The Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol and police in Carlsbad, Escondido, La Mesa, El Cajon, Chula Vista and National City expect to enforce the law immediately. Campus police spokesmen at San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego said the same, as did the San Diego Harbor Police.

The new state law requires adult drivers to use an earpiece, headset or speaker with their cell phones; drivers younger than 18 are not allowed to use any wireless devices – for speaking or text messaging. All drivers in California, even from other states and countries, are expected to comply.

Emergency vehicle drivers are exempted from the hands-free rules. Some police agencies, such as El Cajon, Oceanside and the CHP, plan to take advantage of that exemption. Carlsbad and San Diego prefer to set an example.  “We'll encourage our officers not to use their phones while they're driving,” San Diego police spokeswoman Muñoz told the press.

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.