NEW HANDS-FREE CELL PHONE LAW IS EFFECTIVE 7/1/08.

California finally catches up to what's safe and realistic by enforcing a requirement to use cell phones while operating a motor vehicle with either a wireless or "wired" ear piece. Soon we'll all look like Spock and Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek with those funny "listening devices" protruding from our ears.You can check out the Official FAQ's at the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, but here's my personal spin.

There will be no grace period. That sounds like really bad news, but it doesn't count as a "real ticket" and the fine for the first offense is only $20.

If you're under 18, you can't talk on the phone AT ALL while driving. This includes talking AND texting. HOORAY! (interestingly, the law doesn't specifically address texting by over 18 operators.

Speaker option is OK. Push to talk is NOT. I guess HANDS FREE means just that.

Calling 911 in an emergency situation is an exception. Makes sense to me.

Good luck. I think this is a law that's LONG OVERDUE and should be enacted in all states. The ONLY accident I've been involved in my last 25 of driving was when I was rearended while stopped at a light when a young girl was REACHING FOR HER CELL PHONE and took here eyes off the road.

dv

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