New rules steer teens toward safety

By Ty Shikashio

The new calendar year brought new road rules to Branham as San Jose cracked down on disobedient drivers coming out of the parking lot and onto Branham Lane.

The City of San Jose  extended the median that separates Branham Lane traffic flow by putting in large, protruding mounds. This will hope- fully reduce the amount of drivers that illegally turn left. Principal Cheryl  Lawton said that illegal turns from the visitor parking lot were a safety issue.

“There were multiple accidents be- cause people were turning left which is why they were put in,” she said.

She also said that police were counting cars that were illegally entering Branham Lane from the parking lot.

Among new statewide laws taking effect in January, Assembly Bill 1785, put into place by Gov.  Jerry Brown states that phones be mounted whenever the driver wants to interact with his or her cellular device. Only a single swipe or tap is permitted while the phone is on the car mount, and  lines consist of $20 for the first offense and $50 for every following offense.

In other words, it is absolutely illegal to hold your phone while on the road. With Branham’s second largest class  (2018) becoming eligible for licensure this year, this law will hopefully keep the roads safe for this upcoming generation of student drivers.

Junior Matt Ross recently received his driver’s license and thinks that mounted phones are a good idea. “The driver’s eyes will be partially be on the road since the mount is on the dashboard,” he said.

He also added that while it has good intentions, the law probably won’t be enforced too strictly. English teacher Nancy Freschi, who has been driving in Branham’s parking lot and on surrounding roads since it reopened in 1999, said that while she hopes it helps, those who do not purchase a mount will inevitably sneak their phones on their laps.

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