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New Cell Phone Laws Going into Effect July 1st

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Those of you who rarely use your cell phones while driving need not take too much notice of the following announcement (oh, and p.s.? Thanks for being better than other people). For those of you, however, who insist on multi-tasking throughout your driving experience, watch out: that phone call you're making while wending your way down the 101 might just get you pulled over and fined, fined, fined. The CHP just released a press announcement detailing the new regulations and fine schedules going into effect on July 1st: yes, hands-free devices will still be okay, but only for drivers over the age of 18. (Sorry kids!)

The new law allows police to pull you over just for using a hands-on cell phone while driving. The first offense will cost you $20, with $50 fines thereafter. Convictions will appear on your driving record, but will not add "points". Drivers over 18 can use hands-free devices like the Bluetooth.

Studies have shown that cell phone users do in fact make traffic worse: why? Because they're not paying attention to the road. They're not reacting quickly enough to situations. They're most likely driving slower or faster than the traffic around them, thus causing bottlenecks and stop-and-start situations. How many times have you been behind a driver who doesn't seem to know what they're doing, or who's going way too slow, only to pass them by and see -- yup, on a cell phone! And yes, driving with a cell phone increases your chance of an accident about as much as driving drunk does.

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So put the doggone phones down, Los Angeles. Enjoy your drive: now with less rage!

Photo by andropolis via Flickr