CHP crackdown on violators of 'hands-free' law

The California Highway Patrol will be on the lookout for drivers flouting the state law requiring hands-free devices for anyone talking on a cell phone while driving.

On Wednesday, CHP officers across the Bay Area will wage a zero-tolerance campaign against those driving with a cell phone held up to their ears. Local police and sheriffs' departments will help spot violators.

California's hands-free law took effect July 1, 2008. Since then, anyone operating a motor vehicle cannot use a cell phone without a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth headset.


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Posted by Fecundo
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm

It's about time they start enforcing this. If you drive with a cell phone up to your ear and you don't think you're dangerous then you're crazy. Get these jerks off the road!

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 11, 2009 at 2:22 pm

This is a ridiculous law. Eating while driving is more dangerous that using a phone while driving, yet eating while driving is not outlawed. I've already witnessed one near accident caused by someone getting a phone call and fumbling to get their hands free device out. This law does nothing to make the roads safer.

Note, the above does not apply to texting while driving which is significantly more dangerous that talking on the phone without a hands-free.

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Posted by Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm

It's absolutely time to enforce this law. A couple of years ago I was nearly crushed between a woman (upper-middle-aged) entering Central Expressway with a cell phone plastered to her ear, and a laundry truck in Lane 1. She didn't even look or try to yield, and was still talking after the accident when she pulled over to the side of the road.

Just because there are other activities that interfere with safe driving (e.g., eating), that is no reason not to enforce hands-free driving laws.

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Posted by just thefacts
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 11, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Phil, you are zero for two on this

1) in recent data collected by the California Highway Patrol, it states that drivers using cellphones caused more fatalities than all the drivers distracted by eating, children, pets or personal hygiene.

2) texting while driving is illegal in Calif (from Jan 1 2009)

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Posted by alex
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2009 at 8:48 am

Although those might be the facts, common sense will tell you that its not the holding of the cell phone but the lack of attention while talking on the phone. Thats the problem and it will not change.
There are laws on the books for unattentive drivers and they are not enforsed or are ignored. Making new rules will not solve problems.
Generating revenue is all they do so lets not kidd our selves.
Personally I would preffer to hold the phone to my ear than fumbling with a blue tooth that only works for a few months and than takes a sh$t. Now I use the iphone earphones that makes people think that i am listening to my ipod, or I just pull over.
Either way, an ear piece is not the answer. Its the fact that it takes 15 min and 20 dollars to get a license that's killing people

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm

I'm looking forward to the day when the deleterious health effects of cell phones become apparent. Their effect on the blood-brain barrier is very interesting. It's going to be fun.

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Posted by Curious
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Old Ben, Do you have any sources to cite on this? (ie. blood-brain barrier disruption...)

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Aug 12, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Just do a websearch on cell phones and "blood brain barrier."

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Posted by NW Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:02 am

Another related law that I'd like to see enforced more often is section 27400 of the vehicle code which makes it illegal to drive or ride a bicycle with headphones or earplugs in both ears.

I know cops do sometimes stop bicyclists for listening to music in both ears while riding, but it may be harder to spot for drivers. To me, it could be just as distracting as a phone call since the ambient noise around the driver/cyclist is mostly blocked.

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