March 15, 2008 By Wallin & Klarich

At least that will be the law in California starting July 1, 2008. From that date, it will be illegal for anyone to drive a motor vehicle and use a cellular telephone unless the phone is equipped with a hands-free device, and the hands-free device is used by the driver.

Anyone caught violating this law is subject to a fine of $20 for a first offense and, on a second and subsequent offense, $50. The statute contains several exceptions, such as, for example, if the driver is making a call for an emergency purpose, such as to a law enforcement agency, or health care provider, and where the driver is operating certain types of commercial vehicles.

Interestingly enough, the law does not apply to vehicles operated on private property, and, also interesting is that the law does not address use of electronic devices other than cellular telephones, such as, for instance, text messaging, laptop computers, and the like.

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