New California Hands Free Law

June 30, 2008 7:59:36 PM PDT
California's new cell phone law goes into effect Tuesday. It bans drivers from having phones up to their ears while driving.Our Exclusive Action News Poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows 61 percent of people already have cell phones that can be used hands-free. And of those who don't, 24-percent say they'll buy one before the deadline.

Depending on the law enforcement agency you may get ticketed for text messaging, too.

Tuesday it's the law and even though there's a loophole regarding text messaging, at least one local agency who catches you texting will write you up.

In just a matter of hours if you don't have a hands free phone, you can't use it on the road. It sounds bizarre but for now text messaging is not included in the new law. But Fresno police will be issuing tickets for texting anyway. They say if you are typing in the drivers seat, you are distracted.

John Chandler, Fresno Police: "It's Chief Dyers position and the department's position that hands free is the key phrase in this and texting and dialing would be in violation of that new law."

Tuesday section 23123 will be added to the vehicle code. It reads : a person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is configured to allow hands free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.

A trailing bill that would include text messaging was introduced last week by the same author who wrote the hands free bill.

The California Highway Patrol says there's no grace period and drivers caught with a phone to their ear July first will be cited.

Fresno police say officers are not being told to target cell phone drivers just to look out for the violation like they would for any other driving offense.

"This isn't going to make speeding go away. It's not going to make red lights go away. Those are primary offenses that cause a lot of collisions but also cell phone offenses."

Tomorrow drivers under 18 cannot use a cell phone at all while driving, hands free or not.

Speaker phones built into your phone are allowed. Drivers are still allowed to dial their phones but you cannot put the phone to your ear to talk.


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