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Heed Cell Phone Laws
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  In July of 2008, California passed California Vehicle Code section 23123(a) that prohibits a driver from talking on a cell phone without the use of a hands free device in a motor vehicle on a highway (Roadway). This California Vehicle Code section was written in an attempt to reduce the number of traffic collisions on the roadway by allowing the driver to keep both hands on the steering wheel and focus his/her attention on the roadway. There are of course, several exceptions to this law that allow you to use your cell phone while driving, calling 911, emergency services, or child-related emergency calls.

From July of 2008 through January of 2009, officers were giving verbal warnings to drivers who were stopped for this violation hoping the general public would understand the reasoning for this law.

During my day-to-day activities however, I observe numerous drivers on the roadway with the cell phone receiver to their ear as if the law did not exist. Many drivers have managed to avoid being stopped, but many others have been less fortunate. I have been told that it is much cheaper to purchase a hands-free device than to receive a citation. The fine ranges from $20 first offense to $50 for each subsequent violation. Add the court costs and the first violation costs soar to over $150.

In checking around I have found hands-free devices from $49 to $99. These include the simple ear bud that connects directly into the cell phone, the blue tooth earpiece, or the blue tooth speaker device that can be attached to the vehicle dash or visor.

In closing, this law was created to reduce the number of collisions and fatalities on the roadways. Remember the next life saved, could be yours.


Cop Corner is a monthly column provided by officers of the Oakdale Police Department, offering a variety of information and safety tips.