Distracted driving is one of the most important subjects facing modern drivers, and around the country, states are getting tough on the most flagrant forms of the offense: cellphone usage and texting. California has been somewhat ahead of the curve in this regard, with lawmakers passing measures which disallow drivers from engaging in the habit and police officials cracking down on the habit whenever they can.
But it’s easy to take for granted that everyone has a deep understanding of these laws, and that’s why a report in the Modesto Bee is so valuable. Northern California, particularly the Sacramento area, is currently in the midst of an enforcement operation designed to catch those persons who flagrantly decide to violate distracted driving laws on the books. Drivers should thus make themselves aware of the laws in place, something the report aims to achieve with help from the Department of Transportation.
First off, Californians should understand that there are no exceptions to bans on handheld cellphone usage and texting. Engaging in one of these habits is a primary offense, so you don’t have to be doing something else illegal in order to be pulled over. However, hands-free interaction is still permissible (although a proposed bill would make even hands-free texting illegal). Hands-free cell usage is not allowed, though, among those younger than 18 and bus drivers.
Police are serious about cracking down on these offenses. 2011 saw 460,487 persons cited for using their cellphones.