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Are You As Guilty As A Drunk Driver?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Milestone Motoring - Auto Broker/Dealer

car with no cell phone driversI've always prided myself on being a responsible human being.  As a mother, I'm a role model to my children.  The thought of someone drinking and driving makes me cringe...I would NEVER do that...and yet, how many times have I been talking away on my cell phone with BOTH children in the car???  Probably every single time I'm in the car with them.

An interesting study at the University of Utah questioned the difference between Drunk Drivers, and those who spoke on a cell phone while driving.    The results are nothing short of terrifying.  The conclusion:




      "When driving conditions and time on task were controlled for, the impair-

      ments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound

      as those associated with driving while drunk"   



As California Auto Broker, I'm constantly on the phone in my car (talking about cars)  Our cars have become our mini, mobile offices. As Realtors, it can be even a bigger problem.  What is the potential liability if you're in a cell phone related accident with a client in your car?

And,as bad as we are, I'd venture to say our children are worse.  My fifteen year old is nothing short of obsessed with her cell phone.  Between talking on it and text messaging, I'm lucky if she even glances in my direction.

Which is why, I'm relieved that effective July 1, 2008, California state law will change dramatically.  California is becoming "hands-free"

Drivers 18 and Over.

*Drivers 18 and over must use a hands-free device to talk on their wireless telephones while driving.
*The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.
*The driver, while driving, may use a telephone without a hands free device in an emergency situation to call police, fire, medical providers or other emergency services.
*It is legal to use a Blue Tooth or other earpiece as long as one ear is uncovered.
*Speakerphone is acceptable to use while driving.  The law does not specifically prohibit its use, but an officer can pull over the vehicle and issue a citation to a driver of any age if, in the officer's opinion, the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely.  Text messaging and emailing while driving is unsafe at any speed and is strongly discouraged.

Drivers Under 18

*No drivers under the age of 18 may use a wireless telephone, pager, laptop or any other electronic communication or mobile service device to speak or text while driving in any manner, even hands free.
*The driver may use a wireless telephone in an emergency situation to call police, fire, medical providers or other emergency services.
*Statistics show that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in accidents because they lack driving experience and tend to take greater risks.  Teen drivers are vulnerable to driving distractions such as talking with passengers, eating, drinking or texting on the wireless phones, which increase the chance of getting involved in several crashes.
*Parents cannot grant permission to allow the use of wireless devices while driving.
*For drivers under the age of 18, this is considered a SECONDARY violation meaning that a law enforcement officer may cite you for using a hands-free device if you were pulled over for another violation.


*First Offense base fine is $20.00 with the additional penalty assessment, a first offense is $76.
*Second Offense base fine is $50.00 with the additional penalty assessment, a second offense is $190.


As a mother, I'm relieved that it will be against the law for my daughter to be on her cell phone while driving.  For me, it's a good thing as well because I too am guilty of being distracted while driving

The thing about clichés is that they are usually true...and as my mother would say, "it's better to be safe, than sorry."


*photo courtesy of flickr 

Steven Nickens
Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers - Wailea, HI
R(S)GRI ABR, Maui Real Estate Hawaii

I use my speaker phone, also because of the air waves from the cell phones can be a problem

May 28, 2008 02:11 PM
Tori Lynn Wallitsch
Prudential Ambassador / Ross Designs, LLC - Omaha, NE

Great reminder to all of us throughout the country how careless our driving may be while "under the influence" of our cell phone.

May 28, 2008 02:12 PM
Kathy Fisher Sells Lexington TN homes! 731.845.3413
Five Star Real Estate Services - Lexington, TN

I think you are going to find this type legislation increasing across the country.  I guess there are all kinds of ways to 'drive under the influence'

May 28, 2008 02:15 PM
Melody Young
Milestone Motoring - Auto Broker/Dealer - Westlake Village, CA
Auto Broker-Milestone Motoring

Steven: There's another great reason to be hands-free.  Thanks for stopping by.

May 28, 2008 03:07 PM
Melody Young
Milestone Motoring - Auto Broker/Dealer - Westlake Village, CA
Auto Broker-Milestone Motoring

Tori and Kathy:  DARN, I wish I had thought of "driving under the influence"  I like that better.  Thanks for stopping by.

May 28, 2008 03:08 PM
Mana Tulberg
805 County Real Estate - Camarillo, CA
Real Estate Agent - Camarillo CA

Melody, Thank you for the info. I watched a report last night on CNN that discussed the difference or safety of bluetooth and headsets. Apparently headsets are safer (less electromagnetic waves) than wireless bluetooths.

May 28, 2008 03:59 PM
Neal Bloom
Brokered by eXp Realty LLC - Weston, FL
Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate


We are all guilty of it. I talk on my phone while I'm sleeping:) I have been usuing my bluetooth more and more. In FL it's bad enough that no one cares about the road. Sometimes I wonder if they drive better drunk then with their phone on their ear. In NY they outlawed phones without head sets and they pull you over all the time...we were there visiting and my sister got stopped on the exit ramp for talking without the headset right from the airport.

May 28, 2008 11:56 PM
Melody Young
Milestone Motoring - Auto Broker/Dealer - Westlake Village, CA
Auto Broker-Milestone Motoring

Mana:  I don't hear as well on my blue tooth either, maybe I should try a headset. Thanks for stopping by.

May 29, 2008 04:25 AM
Melody Young
Milestone Motoring - Auto Broker/Dealer - Westlake Village, CA
Auto Broker-Milestone Motoring

Neal with an "a":  So your sis is trouble too huh?  Runs in the family I guess LOL.  I'm not a fan of my bluetooth but it seems I'm not going to have a choice so I'd better get used to it.

May 29, 2008 04:27 AM
Karen Rice Keller Williams Real Est
Keller Williams Real Estate - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

I'd like to know: how is talking on a bluetooth or other hands free device "safer" than just talking on a cell phone? Either way you are just as distracted.

Dec 11, 2008 07:03 AM

Research has now shown that the impairment is not caused by the use of a handheld phone. It is caused by the actual act of the phone conversation. Hands-free laws are thus unlikely to reduce the threat to driver safety. It is not a question of having two hands on the wheel - you're brain is simply not as focused on the road. That is why researchers see comparable response times to people who are legally drunk.

But people are too hooked to their phones for us to see much motion on this - despite the scientific evidence showing that basically we are allowing people to drive their cars while impaired, we will probably not see a full ban on cell phone use while driving any time soon.


Apr 09, 2009 09:16 AM
Ann Sabbagh
Seacoast Mortgage Corporation, RI (20021119LB & 20031576LL), MA (MC2107) & CT - Pawtucket, RI
President, Sr. Loan Officer

I look forward to the day when every state bans texting and cell phone usage.  I do beleive hands-free is ok.  If they ban that,too, they should also ban talking to passengers while driving.  Thanks for a GREAT post!

Oct 20, 2009 05:34 AM