Talking on cellphone while driving

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About a year ago, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 1613 by Sen. Joseph Simitian (D-Palo Alto) that prohibited the use of a cell phone in a moving vehicle unless the driver is using a hands free device. But you might miss some details of the SB, such as effective date.
Specifically, SB 1613 will:
\* Prohibit the use of cell phones by drivers unless the driver is using a hands-free device starting July 1, 2008.
\* Allow drivers of commercial vehicles to use push-to-talk phones until July 1, 2011.
\* Allow drivers to make emergency phone calls without using a hands-free device.
\* Allow drivers of emergency response vehicles to use cell phone without a hands-free device.
Though this SB is not effective yet and it only bans drivers to hold the cellphone when talking, I always worried those people who are talking and driving on the highway or street. CHP data show that cell phones are the number one cause of distracted-driving accidents. Distracted driving leads to tens of thousands of car accidents annually, with many of these accidents resulting in serious injuries or even death.
This SB could help to reduce the distraction a lot, however even using hands free device is still a big source of distraction. Especially when you have a long conversation. In my opinion, talking on cellphone should be banned completely until it is a emergency call.
When driving outside of California, you should be careful. The Cellphone law varies in all states. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah and DC have the same ban as California. Looking for more details, check out this site.

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Comments ( 3 )
  • Brian Utterback Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    This is one of those things where a good idea goes overboard. Studies have shown it is the distraction that is the problem, not the cell phone itself. In general talking on a cell phone is no less safe than talking on a hands free set up. Placing an outgoing call is much more dangerous on either of them. The distraction of the conversation itself can be just as dangerous on either set up, as can actual in person conversations with passengers.

  • gc Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    I totally agree with you, Brian. Unfortunately, baning the conversation itself is not practical. And also on a long drive, if there is no one siting aside and making some distracting noise, one can easily falls into sleep. It might be more dangerous.

  • gc Friday, September 14, 2007

    Yesterday, Schwarzenegger signed a law to ban teen drivers under 18 to put down any electronic devices, not even hand free, when sitting behind the wheel. The law will take effect July 1, next year. California is the 15th state/DC to take action to help teenage drivers to be not distracted by cell phones.

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