New California Phone Law & Bluetooth

By: Gregg Hall

If you live in California you should be aware by now that as of July 1, 2008 you can no longer drive while holding your cell phone and talking without receiving a ticket. The new California Cell Phone Driving Law requires drivers to be equipped with a hands free device to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

A couple of the most common questions about the new cell phone law are as follows:

What are the differences between the two laws?

Answer - The first law forbids all drivers from using a handheld wireless cell phone while operating a motor vehicle but does allow for the use of the cell phone if the driver is using a hands free device. The second law states that NO driver under the age of eighteen may use a cell phone while driving a motor vehicle.

What if I have an emergency and need to make a call and do not yet have a hands free device?

According to the language in the law, a driver is permitted to place an emergency call to law enforcement, medical providers, fire departments, and other emergency service providers.
These are just a couple of the many questions that people have about the new California Cell Phone Driving Law, for more Q&A read to the end of this article.

The easy answer to avoiding a ticket is to simply purchase a Bluetooth hands free device for your cell phone. It is highly recommended that you do so because unlike the cell phone laws in some states where one must be pulled over for some other infraction, the law in California requires no other infraction and a law enforcement officer may ticket you purely for the use of the cell phone while driving.

The wireless headsets available today are very lightweight and comfortable and offer exceptional sound quality. The ones I like the best are the Bluetooth devices that fit behind the ear and are very unobtrusive. The great thing about this technology is that they do not lose their signal on bridges are while in tunnels. Using a Bluetooth hands free device will keep you in compliance with the new cell phone law and keep you safer because you won't be fumbling around with your cell phone while you are driving. Most of the newer headsets are equipped with voice activation calling so you needn't even look at your cell phone, you merely speak the name of the person you want to call that is stored in your address book and the call will be connected.

There is really no reason not to have a Bluetooth headset for use in your car even if you are in a state that doesn't require it yet. Driving while talking on a cell phone without a headset has been proven to cause four times more accidents resulting in injury according to a study done in emergency rooms from 2002-2004. Now, four years later with even more people using cell phones while driving I am sure the statistics are even higher.

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