Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Interesting: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands are the only US jurisdictions which ban all drivers from using handheld cellphones. Except for Maryland, these are all laws are primary enforcement  laws -- the cops can cite a driver for using a handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place. Laws seem to be trending towards an acknowledgment of the hazard, but it also looks like slow going. Personally I'm persuaded--  although I usually answer my calls I keep it short, and I seldom initiate a call. If there is someone else in the car they deal with the phone. (If it is CLA then she also deals with the radio, although I am less enthusiastic about that.) The odd thing to me is that the offense is tied to use of a handheld device. If you are good with looking like a cyborg and using a Bluetooth device then you are fine, notwithstanding the fact that the data suggests that it is the fact of talking on the phone that creates the dangerous distraction, not dialing or holding the phone. New York has just announced that in addition to the fine getting busted for cell phone use is worth two points on your license. That sounds like they are getting more serious about it, but I don't think I know anyone who has ever gotten a ticket.

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