We've written a couple of times now about law enforcement crackdowns on distracted driving: Local agencies are in the midst of the second of two efforts funded by a federal grant.
At the same time, it's hard to drive anywhere these days without seeing many folks on their phones without hands-free devices. And I bet most of us have been stuck at a traffic light behind a driver who hasn't realized it's turned green because he or she is looking down at a phone.
I got to wondering exactly what the law is regarding phone use in California. Here it is, according to distraction.gov, a website operated by the federal Department of Transporation:
"California has primary laws that prohibit ALL drivers from texting, or using a handheld cell phone while driving unless they employ a hands-free device. Having a “primary law” means that an officer can ticket the driver for the offense without any other traffic violation taking place.
Never miss a local story.
Although no state bans all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for all drivers, California prohibits ALL cell phone use for the following drivers:
Minors/drivers under 18 years of age (under a secondary law an officer can only give you a ticket if you have been pulled over for another driving violation)
School bus drivers (primary law) "
We had local statistics in our recent story on this. Statewide, the California Office of Traffic Safety cited 3,008 drivers for texting or talking with a hand-held cell phone during a crackdown in November and December of last year. In 2011, the state issued 460,487 citations for handheld cell phone use.