During the 2005-2006 California State legislative session, State Senator Joe Simitian, who represents the 11th State Senate District, which includes parts of San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties, introduced Senate Bill 1613 to make it illegal for drivers to make or answer calls holding their cell phones. The bill he introduced was approved by the California State Legislature and it goes into effect on July 1, 2008. Below is background information about SB 1613 which comes from Senator Simitian's web site: http://www.senatorsimitian.com
SB 1613: Hands-free cell phones
As of July 1, 2008, SB 1613 (2006) requires California drivers who choose to use their cell phone to do so using any of the readily available technology which allows them to drive with both hands on the wheel.
Need for the Bill:
* Cell phones are the #1 cause identified in distracted driving accidents for all five years that the CHP has collected data.
* In 2004, data collected by the CHP showed “hand-held” drivers were associated with 25 times more accidents than “hands-free” drivers.
* The public supports hands free cell phone requirements by huge margins. All polls show that 70-75% of the public supports a hands free law.
* AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Cingular all urge their customers to use hands-free devices while driving.
* Sprint-Nextel is the only opposition to SB 1613, yet they tell their own customers in driving safety pamphlets to “Use a hands-free device such as an ear bud or headset while driving so you can focus your attention on safety.”
* The bill is supported by a diverse group, including both state firefighter organizations, Verizon Wireless, Driving Schools Association of California, Kaiser, Health Net, 21st Century Insurance and the California Bicycle Coalition.