Monday, June 30, 2008

Hands Free

Hands-free cell phone laws effective July 1

SAN DIEGO--On July 1, two state laws affecting the use of cell phones while driving will take effect. The first law prohibits all drivers from using handheld wireless telephones while driving. Drivers age 18 and over must use an ear piece or similar hands-free device. The other law also taking effect July 1, prohibits drivers under age 18 from using a wireless or hands-free device while driving.

"The under eighteen law is going to be a big difference (in affecting traffic safety)," said California Highway Patrol spokesperson, Jaime Coffee. "They (those under age 18) can’t send messages to their friends or text, and this will remove the distractions so that they can focus on the task at hand: driving."

California is one of 14 states, and the District of Columbia, to prohibit cell phone use by those under 18, according to the American Automobile Association.

Those 18 and over are still free to text message. However, an officer can pull over and cite drivers of any age if the officer believes the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely, according to the law.

The fine for the first offense is $20. Subsequent convictions are $50.

Violators will not receive a point on their driver’s licenses if convicted of driving while using a hand-held device, but the violation will appear on their driving record, according to the California Highway Patrol media relations office.

The rest of the article here.

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