California Forces Hands Free on Drivers

As of midnight, Californians are required to use a hands-free driving system in cars. This marks the largest hands-free driving initiative in U.S. history.

While local municipalities in California have seen this as a potential ticket/revenue generating exercise, the California Highway Patrol does not. The CHP has said that they will not (at least initially) be pulling drivers over for lack of hands-free. However, the CHP has also said that they will ticket you if you aren’t using hands-free, and violating some other driving law.

California’s hands-free law requires an hands-free system that does not involve touching the device to operate it. This includes Bluetooth, in-car systems, and wired headsets. In addition, you can also use the speakerphone function of the device, when combined with voice-activated dialing.

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9 responses to “California Forces Hands Free on Drivers”

  1. eric thompson

    read somewhere that dialing while driving was OK it is having the phone to your ear that is against the law


  2. tbagz

    On the News here in San Diego (kgtv 10news) this morning they said you can still dail the phone and even text message, you just cant hold the phone to your head. Bizzare, text and drive but no holding the phone to head.

  3. eric thompson

    the author of the hands free law is working on a bill to “correct” the texting loophole but there are other laws the CHP could cite you for while texting. And what about those who are reading emails on the cell or PDA?


  4. simple3

    a seperate handsfree device is required according to this publication. using the built in speakerphone is not adequete. The actual law says drivers “are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless a hands-free device is used.”
    this would also indicate that under this verbage text messaging is also prohibited, which is confirmed by the FAQ.

  5. simple3

    Well we have both provided contradicting information, both cited from the DMV here. I think it is important to remember that the DMV did not make this law, will not be enforcing it, and will not be handing out punishments for it either, so the interpretation will be left to law enforcement and the court system.

  6. docbrown88

    While I’m usually in favor of _less_ government regulation, I hope this one gets enforced or has a net effect of pushing people to headsets. Some women – er, i mean people – might as well be drunk when they’re on the phone while driving..