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Community Health Promotion & Prevention

Use of Cell Phone While Driving

On September 15, 2006, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 1613 by Sen. Joseph Simitian (D-Palo Alto) that would prohibit the use of a cell phone in a moving vehicle unless the driver is using a hands free device.

Specifically, SB 1613 will:

  • Prohibit the use of cell phones by drivers unless the driver is using a hands-free device starting July 1, 2008.
  • Allow drivers of commercial vehicles to use push-to-talk phones until July 1, 2011.
  • Allow drivers to make emergency phone calls without using a hands-free device.
  • Allow drivers of emergency response vehicles to use cell phone without a hands-free device.

Distracted driving leads to tens of thousands of car accidents annually, with many of these accidents resulting in serious injuries or even death. Distractions while driving include eating, drinking, changing the radio station, reading and using a cell phone.

The Injury and Violence Prevention Programs at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health developed a fact sheet on driver distraction as well as an executive summary on a review of the use of cell phones while driving.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.