Remember cell phones were huge? I don’t, but it’s 2008 and starting on July 1st, it’ll be illegal to talk on a cell phone and drive in the great, golden state of California unless you’re wearing a wireless headset. The restrictions are worse for minors. Live in another state? It still matters.
Why does it still matter if you live in another state? Because it’s becoming a trend among among states to adopt similar policies. I covered the Governator’s approval of the bill last year, which set California on a course to join a group of states with similar laws already in action: Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, the District of Columbia, New York, and the Virgin Islands.
Furthermore, the restrictions are stricter for teenage drivers, and this is also a common trend. 17 states have banned cellphone use for teenagers and new drivers. In addition to California, the following states are cracking down on rookie drivers using mobiles at the wheel: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, says Wired.
In California, the new law requires that minors avoid using cellphones in addition to pagers, laptops, or any other mobile services device speak or text in any manner, and cops are now allowed to pull over drivers simply for talking directly into a cell phone. Lame.
Thankfully, drivers over 18 are allowed (and discouraged) to text but making/receiving calls requires a hands-free headset that doesn’t cover both ears. Your phone’s speaker-phone mode can also do the trick, but it’ll have to be loud enough. Remember, underage drivers may not use a headset to make calls since, well, all mobile phone usage is banned in any manner for them.