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Hands-Free Cell Phone Law Goes Into Effect
By Ray Yono :: Monday, June 30, 2008 :: 46190 Views :: Article Rating :: 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.

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St. Thomas, MI USA

St. Thomas Chaldean Catholic Church
6900 Maple Rd.
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
Tel: (248) 788-2460
Fax: (248) 788-2153

Founding Pastor:
Rev. Hanna Cheikho

Current Pastor:
Rev. Frank Kalabat

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes, Retired  


Rev. Frank Kalabat
 

Rev. Frank Kalabat was born in 1970 in San Diego, California and entered St. Francis Seminary of San Diego, California.  The admission to the Catholic seminary made him the first born U.S. Chaldean to enter an American seminary.  In 1992, Fr. Kalabat continued his studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan.  In July 1995, shortly after graduation he was ordained as priest by His Excellency Bishop Ibrahim N. Ibrahim.  

Fr. Frank chose Mother of God Parish in Southfield, MI. as his first assignment serving the Chaldean community as an associate pastor for half a decade.  In 2001, Fr. Kalabat was elected to serve as Pastor of St. Tomas Parish in West Bloomfield, Michigan where he remains today.   

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim

Rev. Jirjis Abrahim was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1942. Upon graduation Fr. Abrahim was admitted to St. Peter Chaldean Seminary in Baghdad, Iraq.  After a decade of studies and numerous degrees, Fr. Abrhim was ordained a priest in 1967.  He chose to continue ministering in Baghdad, Iraq.  There he was appointed the headmaster of the catechism at Mother of Sorrows Cathedral.  Fr. Abrahim also assisted St. Therese Church in Baghdad until 1978.  Afterward he was asked to assist St. Joseph Church in Baghdad and was appointed Parochial Vicar from 1978-1992. 

In 1992, Fr. Abrahim was called upon to assist the growing Chaldean population in Michigan.  Upon his arrival he was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Tory, Michigan.  Two years later Fr. Abrahim was asked to become the pastor of a Parish community in Windsor, Canada  where he remained the parish pastor until 2001.

Continuing demographic changes in Michigan required Fr. Abrahim to return to St. Joseph Parish in Tory as a Parochial Vicar, where he remained until 2006.  In 2006 he was elected to St. Thomas Parish as Parochial Vicar in West Bloomfield, MI. where he currently serves the Chaldean community.

 

Rev. Emmanuel Rayes

Rev. Emmanuel Rays was born in Araden, Iraq in 1930.  He studied at St. John Dominican Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.  The Chaldean catholic ambassador ministered in northern Iraq from 1954-1963, in Syria and Lebanon from 1963-1980, and in the United Stated from 1980 to the present day.
 
Form 1980-1983, he was appointed associate pastor at Mother of God Parish in Southfield, Michigan.  From 1983-1989 he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit, Michigan.  During the early 1990’s he ministered to the Chaldean community in Farmington Hills and was at St. Joseph Parish in Tory where he was Parochial Vicar until 2000.

Although Fr. Rayes retired in 2001, he remains active in serving the community.  He is the author of many articles in Arabic and is the editor-in-chief of the Al Mishal and Al-Tariq magazine.  He has translated and continues to translate many books from French and English into Arabic.