California joins other states with hands-free cellphone law

California joined thirty-two other states today when a new law banning unlimited cellphone use in automobiles went into effect at midnight. The new rules prohibit drivers from holding cellphones to their ears while talking, yet they are still allowed to dial the phone to place the call... and freely text message. While the law won't likely have a huge effect on many adult drivers who have become accustomed to using speaker-phones and hands-free devices such as Bluetooth-enabled earpieces (as if that really helps), it is the young drivers who face tough new rules. The law in the Golden State now bans drivers under the age of 18 from using any kind of mobile device while driving. All drivers face the same slap-on-the-wrist if caught. The first offense is only $20, with the fee bumped to $50 for additional convictions. Of course, that number will rapidly increase if other infractions or penalties are applied.

[Source: Los Angeles Times, Photo by David McNew/Getty]

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