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Old 04-19-2008, 02:20 PM   #1
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California wireless phone laws take effect July 1

March 28, 2008

When driving in California, motorhomers had better think twice before using their cellular phones. Unless it's for emergency purposes or they're using a hands-free headset.

Starting July 1, 2008, California law will prohibit all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while driving. Even if they reside in another state where the practice is allowed.

Motorists over 18 may use a hands-free device. Drivers under 18 may not use a wireless phone or hands-free device.

Exceptions
The new laws, which apply only to the person driving the vehicle, carry fines of $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent infractions. Convictions will appear on the violator's driving record but will not result in a point on the driver's license.

Exceptions will be granted to:

* motorists making 911 calls and emergency response personnel;
* (until July 1, 2011) drivers of commercial vehicles who use wireless push-to-talk phones; and
* motorists operating a vehicle on private property.

Using a handheld wireless telephone while driving is considered a "primary" violation, meaning law enforcement officers can stop drivers solely for this infraction.

Advocates and critics
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the wireless phone usage legislation, Senate Bill 1613, on Sept. 15, 2006.

Supporters of the bill said cell phone use is a distraction and can affect driving. They cited data from the California Highway Patrol that indicated cell phones were the leading cause of distracted driving accidents, and that hands-free technology substantially reduced the number of crashes.

Opponents claimed there are many other causes of inattentive driving, such as eating, smoking, drowsiness and adjusting the radio station or CD player. They criticized the ban on using handheld mobile phones for failing to distinguish between inexperienced young drivers and experienced adult drivers.

What about other states?
No federal law bans drivers from using wireless phones while driving, but some states and local jurisdictions have taken action. For example, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., have enacted statewide bans similar to California's.

States can enact cell phone laws as primary or secondary. Under secondary laws, an officer must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing a driver for using a cell phone. Laws without this restriction, as in California, are called primary.

The use of all cellular phones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
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Old 04-19-2008, 02:20 PM   #2
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California wireless phone laws take effect July 1

March 28, 2008

When driving in California, motorhomers had better think twice before using their cellular phones. Unless it's for emergency purposes or they're using a hands-free headset.

Starting July 1, 2008, California law will prohibit all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while driving. Even if they reside in another state where the practice is allowed.

Motorists over 18 may use a hands-free device. Drivers under 18 may not use a wireless phone or hands-free device.

Exceptions
The new laws, which apply only to the person driving the vehicle, carry fines of $20 for a first offense and $50 for subsequent infractions. Convictions will appear on the violator's driving record but will not result in a point on the driver's license.

Exceptions will be granted to:

* motorists making 911 calls and emergency response personnel;
* (until July 1, 2011) drivers of commercial vehicles who use wireless push-to-talk phones; and
* motorists operating a vehicle on private property.

Using a handheld wireless telephone while driving is considered a "primary" violation, meaning law enforcement officers can stop drivers solely for this infraction.

Advocates and critics
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the wireless phone usage legislation, Senate Bill 1613, on Sept. 15, 2006.

Supporters of the bill said cell phone use is a distraction and can affect driving. They cited data from the California Highway Patrol that indicated cell phones were the leading cause of distracted driving accidents, and that hands-free technology substantially reduced the number of crashes.

Opponents claimed there are many other causes of inattentive driving, such as eating, smoking, drowsiness and adjusting the radio station or CD player. They criticized the ban on using handheld mobile phones for failing to distinguish between inexperienced young drivers and experienced adult drivers.

What about other states?
No federal law bans drivers from using wireless phones while driving, but some states and local jurisdictions have taken action. For example, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., have enacted statewide bans similar to California's.

States can enact cell phone laws as primary or secondary. Under secondary laws, an officer must have some other reason to stop a vehicle before citing a driver for using a cell phone. Laws without this restriction, as in California, are called primary.

The use of all cellular phones while driving a school bus is prohibited in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:52 PM   #3
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Florida needs to do this in a hurry...
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:54 PM   #4
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I applaud the action --- I never talk on a cell phone while holding it. I have used a handsfree device for the past 5 - 6 years and love it. It auto answers my phone, I can push a button and name call who ever is in my phone book. Never have to take my eyes off the road and now -- after getting used to it -- it is second nature. No more wandering eyes for me or only one hand on the wheel as I drive. I would support this type of law going nationwide. I am sure we have all see a person holding a phone and trying to make a turn. Someone holding a phone is not as safe of a driver. Just MHO.
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Old 04-19-2008, 06:01 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Brigadoon (formerly Str8Shooter):
Florida needs to do this in a hurry...
For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That says everything possible. Add Indiana to the list of states prohibiting this dangerous distraction.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:42 PM   #6
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Washington has something similar efective July1.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:48 PM   #7
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I agree with Brigadoon. Need to include lipstick & eye shadow to boot.
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:09 AM   #8
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Even using hands free devices creates a distraction to the driver. IMHO, All cellphone use by the driver should be made illegal.

-Tom
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:34 AM   #9
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Maybe we need a flashing beacon on top of the vehicle to let other drivers know when a driver is on the cell phone. At least give us a chance to avoid them.

As for the make up issue, remove all interior mirrors...I don't think most drivers know how to use them anyway.

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Old 04-20-2008, 08:14 AM   #10
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Might as well take out turn signals too. It always makes me sad to see some expensive new Volvo or BMW making a turn or a lane change and the turn signals must already be broken as they don't work.
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:09 AM   #11
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On some of the new cars, the blinker fluid container was built too small, causing the turns signals to prematurely quit working.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:17 PM   #12
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I hope the same CHP officers that find the time to look for cell phone users also look for, make-up artists, newspaper readers, text messengers, child discipliners, coffee drinkers and just about everything else that makes California some of the most aggressive and oblivious drivers on the planet. I wish cell phones were the only problem. Yes I use BT. In the BMW X3, in the Jeep Wrangler and in the motorhome. We never leave home without it.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:45 PM   #13
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While I have been a hands-free driver for many years, it was recently proven that that distraction of being on the phone is just as bad whether you are holding the phone or driving hands free. I suppose that one more hand available (but rarely used) to grasp the steering wheel would be an advantage.
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Old 04-20-2008, 01:55 PM   #14
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A friend in NC just told me that she just read today that NC will ban cell phone use except hands free in vehicles as of July 1. They already ban all cell phone use by drivers under 18 yo.
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