Cell phones – New Law (2008)

As previously reported, California is enacting a new hands-free cell phone law that takes effect July 1st, 2008. Below is an interesting email a friend sent me that might help everyone transition to the new law.

According to new law that goes into effect July 1, 2008 you will no longer be able to use a cell phone while driving unless you have a ‘hands free’ adapter. I went to Circuit City and they wanted $50 for a headset with a microphone for my cell phone. Having a friend in the cell phone business, I talked with him and was able to come up with an alternative, working through Office Depot. These kits are compatible with any mobile phone and one size fits all. I paid him $0.08 each because he bought in quantity. Then we tried it with Motorola, Sprint, Verizon and Nokia units and they worked perfectly. A photo is attached so scroll down & take a look and let me know if you want one.

Here is the original post about the new Law…

Effective July 1, 2008, the legislation prohibits drivers from using a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle unless the driver uses a hands-free device. Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.

Governor Schwarzenegger — Public Safety: California Highway Patarol

SEC. 3. Section 12810.3 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (f) of Section 12810, a violation point shall not be given for a conviction of a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 23123.
(b) The section shall become operative on July 1, 2008.

SEC. 4. Section 23123 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 42001 or any other provision of law, a violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

Read SB 1613 in it’s entirety.

A follow up to Leslie’s comment below…

SB 33 prohibits teens from using cell phones or any other “mobile service device” while driving. The fines are the same as those above.

SEC. 4. Section 23124 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) This section applies to a person under the age of 18 years.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 23123, a person described in subdivision (a) shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a
wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device, or while using a mobile service device.

[end original post]

On a serious note, I’m wondering if using your speaker phone feature complies with the new law. Technically, it’s hands-free and no different than pushing the on/off button for an ear piece setup. Many phones even have voice dialing so what’s the difference?

Update: According to the DMV, it does.

Q: Does the new ?hands-free? law prohibit you from dialing a wireless telephone while driving or just talking on it?
A: The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.

Q: Will it be legal to use a Bluetooth or other earpiece?
A: Yes, however you cannot have BOTH ears covered.

Q: Does the new “hands-free” law allow you to use the speaker phone function of your wireless telephone while driving?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the new ?hands-free? law allow drivers 18 and over to text message while driving?
A: The law does not specifically prohibit that, but an officer can pull over and issue a citation to a driver of any age if, in the officer?s opinion, the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely. Sending text messages while driving is unsafe at any speed and is strongly discouraged.

2 thoughts on “Cell phones – New Law (2008)

  1. Salespeople may tell you that Bluetooth earpieces are the low-cost solution to hands-free calling — but a closer look reveals these claims to be misleading.

    Here is a list of disadvantages that the earpiece manufacturers and resellers don’t want you to know about:

    Nearly all Bluetooth earpieces have an internal battery that can’t be removed. These batteries have a short life of approximately 300 charges, or approximately one earpiece per year (less if you recharge every day). And prices range from $20-$300, averaging about $50.
    The earpiece can’t be used while it is charging.
    The earpieces don’t fit everyone comfortably. One size definitely doesn’t fit all; yet you cannot try the earpiece before you buy.
    The earpieces are uncomfortable for those who wear glasses or sunglasses.
    For reasons of hygiene, the earpieces should not be shared.
    Earpieces are easily lost, stolen, or broken.
    Bluetooth headsets, on average, last just 26 hours when not in use and only 2 to 3 hours when talking.
    The life of the battery starts to decline once you begin to use it, hence the talk time and standby time decreases.

    Many users purchase more than one Bluetooth earpiece, then finally give up and buy an integrated Bluetooth car kit.
    Potential harmful effects from radiation through the earpiece.
    Most people find the earpieces uncomfortable and ugly, and/or experience lousy audio quality.
    Many people will buy the earpiece believing it is more cost effective, ultimately they end up buying an integrated car kit because they just find it cumbersome to use.

    note from archshrk: this was most likely spam so i removed the links but thought the information was interesting enough to share (even if it’s not true)

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