Hands-Free Cell Use Tricky to Enforce

May 19, 2011

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For example, it's legal to read, select and enter a phone number while driving - as long as you put the phone down before talking. But you can't send a text while sitting at a red light. Some officers say it's OK to play some music from your phone if it's done quickly. But most - though not all - say using the phone's GPS function is not legal if the phone is held in the hand.

 

"Hands-free means hands-free," said Ontario police Detective Diane Galindo. "You cannot have the phone in your hands, period."

 

Fines and fees for cellphone use behind the wheel now run to $159 and would increase to more than $300 under proposed legislation.

 

"We can't issue a citation to someone who is downloading music to an iPod or downloading information on their GPS, but if someone is distracted when they're using their hand-held devices and swerving side to side, we can issue a citation," Lopez said.

 

Yet punching in a phone number to make a call - which takes more concentration than a brief phone conversation - is legal.

 

Galindo said the California Vehicle Code is full of rules regarding driver distractions.

 

"If you were to look through a vehicle code book, there are so many different sections that cover impeding the drivers' ability to drive safely," she said.

 

[via Mercurynews.com]

 

Photo courtesy of Lisa Padilla and re-used under the Creative Commons license.