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California's stupid hands-free cell phone law goes into effect

As of July 1, 2008, anyone under 18 is not allowed to use a cell phone at all while driving. Those 18 and over must use a hands-free set or risk a $20 fine for the first citation, and $50 for subsequent ones. The citation will go on your driving record but not generate any points. This SF Chronicle article cites a CHP officer as saying that text messaging while driving is illegal even though it's not explicitly mentioned in the law, though my guess is that they would use generic distracted driving laws against you, and that it would be open to debate.

In any case, as I've already ranted about a year ago, a 2003 study showed that hands-free cell phone use is just as dangerous as hand-held cell phone use because the real danger factor is driver distraction, and a 1997 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that cell phone use, hands-free or not, is as dangerous as having your blood alcohol level be at the legal limit. And I quote: "Telephones that allowed the hands to be free did not appear to be safer than hand-held telephones."

And finally, as I mentioned the last time I ranted about this, there are studies about the effect of anti-handed cell phone use laws on number of citations and amount of cell phone use, but I have yet to see a single study demonstrate that anti-handed cell phone use laws have any significant positive effect on lowering accident rates. I worry that hands-free sets might actually have the perverse incentive of causing people to stay on the phone longer, leading to more accidents, instead of less. I wonder if anyone's collecting data on this sort of thing this time around?

In short, my advice is to obey the law, despite its stupidity, and stay of trouble, but also to minimize the amount of time you spend using your hands-free set and not assume that it's safer in any way because it's hands-free.

I hate these sorts of unscientific, potentially counterproductive laws that are just enacted so the politicians pretend they're accomplishing something.

Comments (1)

Good thoughts.
I got a better idea about solving the problem.
move out of this left wing, communistic, ass backwards,no decent jobs because all the good ones moved out of state, full of retarded people, swarming with illegal immigrants that want YOU to learn spanish, gang infested, white kids acting like their black, lowered honda, welfare fraud, 699 dollar to register my truck, fee you to death, no good fishing unless you want to be around a billion mexicans or asians, cant own a ferret, never snows here, and when it does, all the mexicans clog up the mountain roads so their 50 kids can play on the side of the road,fag infested, mountains filled with tons of garbage, cant talk on a cell phone, PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CALIFORNIA!!!!!

Did I mention it sucks here?
just got 3 job offers in Utah within 2 days of being there. 2 more weeks and all my stuff is packed & ready to go. I plan on stopping at state line, pulling my pants down in the direction of california, & giving this god awful state a last salute.
David Klebs

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 2, 2008.

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