Students still driving with cell phones

Elka Wyatt

July 1, 2008, marked the beginning of the cell phone ban in California. This ban was implemented in an effort to reduce accidents caused by drivers distracted by the use of cell phones.
Even with the law in place, people are still driving while talking on their cell phones.
An informal survey by the Rip showed that seven out of 10 people were still not in compliance with the new law.
According to studies by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, it has been shown that cell phone usage while driving causes more than 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States each year.
Professor of Psychology at the University of Utah, David Strayer says, “If you put a 20- year-old behind the wheel with a cell phone in his or her hand, the reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone.”
Simulations showed reaction time to brake lights and traffic hazards was slowed by 18 percent while regaining speed after braking took 17 percent longer, which causes other vehicles to slow down.
In California, if you must talk on your cell phone and you are over the age of 18, you may use some sort of hands-free device. If you are cited for using your cell phone while driving without a hands-free device, the first violation will be $20. Each subsequent violation will be $50 with the possibility of other charges being applied.
Anyone younger than 18 is not allowed to use a cell phone, text or use a laptop while driving, period, even with a hands-free device.
One company is offering free headsets to those cited under this law. These drivers can log onto Drivers must be prepared to give their citation number and make and model of the cell phone. has Bluetooth headsets starting at just under $19 and Bluetooth car kits starting at around $60.
Some newer vehicles are equipped with SYNC, a voice-activated mobile phone and digital music system.