July 1 ushers in new law: Hang up or hands-free

Sensible people already avoid the one-handed-driving-while-talking-on-the-phone-trick. But starting July 1, even the senseless will have to give up the handset while driving.

The California Department of Motor Vehicle’s Web site currently has a notice that says, succinctly, “Two new laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving go into effect July 1, 2008 …

“The first prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle. 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.”

In other words, if you are a minor, hang up and drive. And if you are not a minor, either get a “hands-free” device or make that call from home.

These laws make basic good sense. Young drivers are not ready for any distractions, and even experienced drivers often become a threat to others when they become preoccupied with the phone.

Our bet is that it won’t be long until these laws become obsolete. As tools such as Blackberrys and iPhones become ubiquitous, they also gain features at an astonishing rate.

The days of numeric dialing and bulky handsets are passing.

Who knows what the near future holds in terms of voice-activated and miniaturized communication devices.

But for the present, most of us have had the unfortunate experience of the chatting driver drifting into our lane or missing a red light. We’ve gotten out of the way of the woman who is driving, talking on the handset and applying makeup on the freeway. We’ve steered clear of the man who is speeding along with the phone to his ear while he eats a sandwich or ties his tie.

No law can force drivers to abandon all this activity and focus on responsible driving, but the July 1 laws do a reasonable job of addressing one of the most prominent driving distractions.

So, if you just can’t live without the phone while driving, get out and get that “hands-free” equipment. You’ve got about two weeks.

Related posts:

  1. Where we call home
  2. What works in a sideways world?
  3. Weekend workshops foster collaboration on vision for Bird Roc
  4. Week in Sports: May 24, 2007
  5. Lung cancer victim works to increase funding for disease

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=10431

Posted by on Jun 11, 2008. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Torrey Pines High School football starts Aug. 29 August 28, 2014
    The Torrey Pines varsity football team scrimmaged against San Marcos on Friday, Aug. 22. Their first game is at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29. […]
  • Del Mar doctor faces 20 years for selling prescriptions to addicts August 28, 2014
    A Del Mar osteopath who sold painkiller prescriptions to addicts and drug dealers pleaded guilty in federal court Aug. 26 to conspiracy to unlawfully dispense and distribute oxycodone. William Joseph Watson faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced Dec. 8, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Sheppard. The defendant — who had been indicted on […]
  • Teacher thrilled to be back in Carmel Valley as new Canyon Crest Academy Envision Theatre Coordinator August 28, 2014
    Jeannine Marquie landed her dream teaching job when she began working at Canyon Crest Academy’s Envision in 2007. But when schools were hit by the recession and her position went from full time to part time, the actress-turned-teacher had to relocate to Orange County. Now starting her 18th year as a teacher, Marquie is back in Carmel Valley as the new theate […]