California Drivers Slow to Adjust To Cell Phone Laws

The law that requires hands free cell phones while driving has now been on the books for two years.

chpThe law may have led to more hands free cell phone use, but it has also led to much grumbling and surreptitious scanning for officers while making a call from the road.

California Highway Patrol officials say that many people who were accustomed to using cell phones while driving before the law are having difficulty changing their practices.

Since the law went into effect July 1, 2008, CHP reports that there have been more than 1200 collisions statewide where a contributing factor was inattention by the driver due to cell phone use. These cell phone related accidents included 850 injured victims and 16 fatalities, officials say.

Use of handheld cell phones and text messaging are illegal while driving. All cell phone use, handheld or handsfree, is illegal for drivers under the age of 18. Since the law went on the books, officials say that CHP officers have written 244,000 tickets for violating this code. The first violation can add up to over $100.

The tickets are one aspect of the law, but officials say that safety is the primary concern. CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow says that drivers need to put down the phone and focus on driving; otherwise it may cost you your life, or the life of your loved ones.

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