In July 2008, California will roll out VC 23123. This is a law that will make it illegal to use a cell phone without a hands free kit, while driving.
Now… First off I would like to say GREAT!!! I am happy that they did this.
Personally I have no problem with this law, I think it is fine. If there is one thing that gets my ire up the most, it is driving behind, or anywhere near, someone who has mistaken their car or truck as a mobile phone booth. Trust me, I always seem to find the ones that feel that talking on the phone means that they need to drive stupid, slow or both.
I cannot tell you how many times I have almost been hit by some idiot with a cell phone planted in the side of their heads. To top it off, they get mad at you, when they almost hit you or if you honk at them.
My thoughts on this, though, is do we really think that this is going to change anything? I mean, there have been “Distracted Driver” laws on the books for some time now, and even local ordinances against cell phone use without a hands free device, for some time as well. But how often to you really ever hear of a person getting pulled over or ticketed for using their phone? I am not saying that it does not happen, I am just saying that I think it is the exception more than the rule.
Then the other question that I think of is directed towards the police themselves. Granted, no one, including cops, are busy all the time. I am sure that there are down times in their days. But how likely are police to really, seriously go after a person using a cell phone? Maybe if they are driving, and see a person that is going the same direction as they are, and they notice that they are on the phone, then maybe. But as far as going out of their way to go after people, or respond to calls reporting a person violating the law… I am not so sure.
The only way that I see that this law will have a bing impact, is in the fact that if there IS an accident that is as the direct result of a person using a cell phone without a headset or speakerphone, then the insurance companies and the authorities will then have more ammo to use against the driver of the vehicle.
I am not really that concerned with how the law will affect me or my wife directly. I will only answer my cell phone, if it rings while driving, if I have my headset on or my speakerphone kit turned on. Otherwise, if the call is important, they will leave a message. If they do not, then I guess it was not that important to begin with.
One item in this law that I do like, a lot, is the rule banning people under the age of 18 from using a phone AT ALL while driving a vehicle. Not even with a headset or a speakerphone. But once again, the idea that cops are really going to go out of their way to pursue these people, unless there is some other infraction being committed, is a little hard to ponder.