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Old 06-19-2008, 07:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default California Hands Free Law - July 1, 2008 FAQ

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New Cellular Phone Laws that Go Into Effect July 1, 2008
( New Motor Vehicle Laws for 2008 )

Wireless Telephone Laws FAQs

Cellular Phone Laws VideoView Video with Open Captions | View Video

Two new laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving go into effect July 1, 2008. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning these new laws.
Q: When do the new wireless telephone laws take effect?
A: The new laws take effect July 1, 2008.
Q: What is the difference between the two laws?
A: The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (Vehicle Code (VC) §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a "hands-free device." Drivers under the age of 18 may NOT use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).
Q: What if I need to use my telephone during an emergency, and I do not have a "hands-free" device?
A: The law allows a driver to use a wireless telephone to make emergency calls to a law enforcement agency, a medical provider, the fire department, or other emergency services agency.
Q: What are the fines(s) if I’m convicted?
A: The base fine for the FIRST offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions. With the addition of penalty assessments, the fines can be more than triple the base fine amount.
Q: Will I receive a point on my driver license if I’m convicted for a violation of the wireless telephone law?
A: No. The violation is a reportable offense, however, DMV will not assign a violation point.
Q: Will the conviction appear on my driving record?
A: Yes, but the violation point will not be added.
Q: Will there be a grace period when motorists will only get a warning?
A: No. The law becomes effective July 1, 2008. Whether a citation is issued is always at the discretion of the officer based upon his or her determination of the most appropriate remedy for the situation.
Q: Are passengers affected by this law?
A: No. This law only applies to the person driving a motor vehicle.
Q: Do these laws apply to out-of-state drivers whose home states do not have such laws?
A: Yes.
Q: Can I be pulled over by a law enforcement officer for using my handheld wireless telephone?
A: Yes. A law enforcement officer can pull you over just for this infraction.
Q: What if my phone has a push-to-talk feature, can I use that?
A: No. The law does provide an exception for those operating a commercial motor truck or truck tractor (excluding pickups), implements of husbandry, farm vehicle or tow truck, to use a two-way radio operated by a “push-to-talk” feature. However, a push-to-talk feature attached to a hands-free ear piece or other hands-free device is acceptable.
Q: What other exceptions are there?
A: Operators of an authorized emergency vehicle during the course of employment are exempt, as are those motorists operating a vehicle on private property.
DRIVERS 18 AND OVER
Drivers 18 and over will be allowed to use a "hands-free" device to talk on their wireless telephone while driving. The following FAQs apply to those motorists 18 and over.
Q: Does the new “hands-free” law prohibit you from dialing a wireless telephone while driving or just talking on it?
A: The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.
Q: Will it be legal to use a Bluetooth or other earpiece?
A: Yes, however you cannot have BOTH ears covered.

Q: Does the new "hands-free" law allow you to use the speaker phone function of your wireless telephone while driving?
A: Yes.
Q: Does the new “hands-free” law allow drivers 18 and over to text message while driving?
A: The law does not specifically prohibit that, but an officer can pull over and issue a citation to a driver of any age if, in the officer’s opinion, the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely. Sending text messages while driving is unsafe at any speed and is strongly discouraged.
DRIVERS UNDER 18
Q: Am I allowed to use my wireless telephone "hands-free?"
A: No. Drivers under the age of 18 may not use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile services device to speak or text while driving in any manner, even "hands-free." EXCEPTION: Permitted in emergency situations to call police, fire or medical authorities (VC §23124).
Q: Why is the law stricter for provisional drivers?
A: Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in crashes because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks. Teen drivers are vulnerable to driving distractions such as talking with passengers, eating or drinking, and talking or texting on wireless devices, which increase the chance of getting involved in serious vehicle crashes.
Q: Can my parents give me permission to allow me to use my wireless telephone while driving?
A: No. The only exception is an emergency situation that requires you to call a law enforcement agency, a health care provider, the fire department or other emergency agency entity.
Q: Does the law apply to me if I’m an emancipated minor?
A: Yes. The restriction applies to all licensed drivers who are under the age of 18.
Q: If I have my parent(s) or someone age 25 years or older in the car with me, may I use my wireless telephone while driving?
A: No. You may only use your wireless telephone in an emergency situation.
Q: Will the restriction appear on my provisional license?
A: No.
Q: May I use the hands-free feature while driving if my car has the feature built in?
A: No. The law prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless device while driving, except in an emergency situation.
Q: Can a law enforcement officer stop me for using my "hands-free" device while driving?
A: For drivers under the age of 18, this is considered a SECONDARY violation meaning that a law enforcement officer may cite you for using a "hands-free" wireless device if you were pulled over for another violation. However, the prohibition against using a handheld wireless device while driving is a PRIMARY violation for which a law enforcement officer can pull you over.

The two laws were the result of SB 1613 and SB 33, authored by Senator Joe Simitian and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September 2006.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hence the reason for:

http://www.blackberryforums.com/hard...endations.html



Great info Stinsonddog!

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Old 06-19-2008, 07:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good info, Stinson - good dog!
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Washington State's hands free law also goes into effect on that date, I believe. I don't know all of faq's for Washington but in WA, it is a secondary offense, although, one can be pulled over for bad driving behavior that is associated with phone use.

TEXTING in WA state is already and separately illegal.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted (off to see the wizard)

This will spread. I think most states are looking at laws similar to this
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Pretty soon, it will be illegal to drive with kids in the car. They are a bigger distraction than the phone.
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Wirelessly posted

No such law in SC BUT they did try and get one for smoking in the car with your children in it... Needless to say if failed!
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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too bad this is just "feel good" legislation. most people cant drive well, much less drive and talk at the same time, cellphone or not.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by styxgroupi View Post
Wirelessly posted

No such law in SC BUT they did try and get one for smoking in the car with your children in it... Needless to say if failed!
This is passing county by county in Georgia
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I read a report somewhere. I'll have to try and find it but it found that drivers are just as distracted with handsfree
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Old 06-20-2008, 08:34 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I think I read that same report EZ has nothing to do with the hands its the brain
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
TEXTING in WA state is already and separately illegal.
As it should be here in CA too. How that loophole got left in there is a mystery but I'm confident our nanny state will fix that soon enough. Texting and driving is simply insane.

FWIW, I bumper tapped a BMW in a parking lot while while fiddling with my old BT headset the other day. No damage, fortunately, but a distraction is a distraction. I also know a kid who killed 2 pedestrians while dialing a number so needless to say I'm a big fan of VAD and a general hands-off policy.

I think the issue of holding a cell phone to your ear while driving is valid as well, since you only have 1 hand remaining to drive the car with. Often you need both, especially if you're using a stick shift.

Having a conversation through a headset isn't any more dangerous than talking to a passenger, but that only gets compounded when you're holding a phone at the same time. So I think handsfree laws are valid and sensible public policy.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Missouri has no such law yet, but I think we should. I've seen too many close calls due to inattentive drivers holding a phone to their ears.

As for the Bluetooth issue, I don't believe it should be prohibited. I frequently use my Jawbone while driving, and don't think I'm any more distracted with it than when talking to a passenger. There are exceptions - times when I really need to concentrate on the conversation - then I pull over. Common sense should prevail - If you're distracted, pull over.
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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AZ is arguing on it and may be one will be out soon. i agree it is dangerous to practice keyboarding while driving. Oh,well someone needs to take individual responsibility. it is hard to police social behavior.
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I love noticing weird driving and then seeing the driver on a cell phone. Sometimes talking, yes it's legal here, and sometimes texting.
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Old 10-30-2008, 01:25 PM   #16 (permalink)
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If this is "feel good" legislation then it must be working, because I feel great about it.

:P
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