I encourage my readers to never talk or text while driving because the behavior is inherently dangerous and has been shown in studies to increase the risk of an accident several times over. In fact, texting and driving can increase the risk of an accident by a factor of 32 (that means an accident is 3200% more likely). In fact, texting while driving has shown to increase accident risk as much as or more than drinking and driving. Though it’s never a good idea to talk or text and drive, today is an especially poor day to engage in what is already a dangerous activity. That’s because today is a zero tolerance day.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is conducting a zero-tolerance enforcement day of the ban on cell phones while driving today. In a similar effort on August 11th, the CHP cited 300 Bay Area drivers, and other local law enforcement cited an additional 350 drivers.
The goal of the zero-tolerance days is to promote education about the year-old cell phone ban and the disastrous effects that driving while talking and texting can have. The CHP says they plan to conduct additional zero-tolerance enforcements in the future to continue to educate the public.
Of course, those over the age of 18 can continue to use hands-free devices such as speakerphone or bluetooth headsets to talk on their phones while driving. The use of these devices complies with the law, but there is still some evidence that a phone conversation of the hands-free variety is just as distracting to a driver as a phone conversation on a hand-held phone. As for those under the age of 18–they’re not allowed to use a cell phone at all, hands-free or not.