California Office of Traffic Safety study shows drivers are putting down their cell phones
According a study released by the California Office of Traffic Safety, more California drivers are putting their cell phones away when driving thanks to the cell phone law. The study found that fewer than 4 percent of drivers appear to be picking up and using their cell phones. This is a significant drop compared to a year ago when the same analysis found that nearly 8 percent of drivers were on their cell phones. Office of Traffic Safety spokeswoman Camille Travis stated,
This is behavioral change. People are starting to get the gist of it.
The cell phone law went into effect in January 2017 and prohibits drivers from holding their devices in their hands for any reason. The law ended a loophole in the state’s earlier hands-free cell phone laws. Drivers can still use their cell phones if they do it hands-free, such as through voice activation software, but the phones must be mounted on the dashboard or windshield or console. While the phone is mounted, the law does allow the driver to touch the device only once while driving, to do things such as “activate or deactivate a feature or function … with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.” Since the law went into effect, California Highway Patrol data show citation issuance increased from 66,000 in 2016 to more than 98,000 in 2017. Hopefully, more people will continue to avoid picking up their cell phone while driving.