Cell Phone Tickets
Recent studies show that using cell phones while driving increases the chance of severe accidents. These studies, which were conducted by US government and other agencies, confirm that talking on the phone while driving leads to inattentive driving and contributes to accidents. While you try to dial a number, your eyes are constantly diverted toward the cell phone and therefore, you are not able to detect changes in the road condition and the position of other vehicles in time. When you talk on the phone, you are engaged in the conversation and your brain is distracted from driving.
New York was the first state to implement laws prohibiting the use of cell phones while driving and started issuing cell phone tickets. Starting July 1st, 2008 using hand-held devices while driving became prohibited in California as well, and with no grace period officers started issuing cell phone traffic tickets. Drivers 18 and older would be given a cell phone ticket unless they use a hands-free device or the phone's speaker function. For minor drivers any use of cell phones, even with hands-free devices, is completely prohibited. Although there are no laws prohibiting text messaging, you may get pulled over for unsafe driving. Despite the ban, you can use your hand-held device to call a law enforcement agency, fire department, medical provider or any other emergency service.
A cell phone traffic ticket is a non-moving violation and although it appears on your DMV record, it does not have any points. You can always fight cell phone tickets and request trial. You are more encouraged to fight cell phone tickets if you can prove that the call you made prior to the citation was to an emergency service provider.
Studies show it is actually the brain that is distracted. Talking on the phone takes up a great amount of attention and visual processing skills, therefore reduces the attention given to driving and makes the reactions slower. It is shown that using hands-free devices does not make any significant difference compared to using hand-held devices and the chance of having an accident is still multiplied by four. Basically a driver talking on the cell phone and a legally drunk driver pose the same level of threat. While issuing cell phone tickets has reduced the use of hand-held devices, it cannot ensure the safety of the users and other drivers on the road.
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