As Kennedy scandals go, said Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times, "Maria Shriver's failure to use a hands-free cell phone device while driving is a bit, well, anticlimactic." Sure, it's embarrassing that gossip website TMZ caught her in the act, especially since it was her husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made what she did illegal. But chatting while driving is not as "socially taboo as not wearing a seat belt," and until it is, "gloating over tabloid photos won't make the roads any safer."
Obviously, said Michelle Quinn in The New York Times. After TMZ published the first photo, Schwarzenegger responded by Twitter, promising "swift action," and TMZ promptly caught Shriver in the act again. "Californians may have rushed to invest in hands-free technology when the law went into effect in July 2008, but many are back to their old habits," despite penalties of $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent ones. "If the risk of fines and accidents is not enough to change behavior, what will it take?"
Maria Shriver's apology might be a good start, said Jim Boren in the Fresno Bee. The California first lady released a statement saying she was sorry, and would donate her favorite old cell phone to Verizon's HopeLine program, which helps domestic violence shelters. "I think the first lady recovered nicely. I'd also like to see her do public service announcements on the dangers of talking on the cell phone while driving."