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Study Shows Hand-Held Cellphone Use Down Thanks to State Law

Photo by Lord Jim via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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It's been one year now since a California law went into effect making it illegal to drive while using a hand-held cellphone. The Automobile Club of Southern California has released the findings of "observational roadside surveys of drivers on Orange County roads," and have determined that the "use of hand-held cell phones by drivers declined sharply from pre-law levels."The surveys were held in four periods, one of which prior to the law being implemented, and were conducted "using systematic random samples of about 13,500 vehicles passing by seven roadside sites in Orange County." Before last July, 9.3% of drivers were using their hand-held phones while driving, a figure that dropped dramatically to 3.3% within the month. After the initial media saturation and emphasis on the law last year, however, the numbers have risen slightly, first to 3.4% by October 2008, and to 3.9% by May of this year. Overall, however, based on these surveys, usage "remains 58% below where it was before the state implemented its cell phone law." The surveys also found that allowable phone usage--hands-free--has declined since last year, with only 1% of drivers indicating they make use of those devices while behind the wheel.

In the past year, the California Highway Patrol has given out over 100,000 citations for violating the hands-free law. It is also illegal to txt message while driving, too. In case you need reminding.

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