BMR Insurance Special Public Service Announcement: Talking on your cell phone while driving is illegal! This means no dialing, no texting, and none of that holding-in-one-hand-while-on-speakerphone business. Basically, no touching your phone; all actions on your cell phone must be voice-controlled or conducted through a headset. While this law has been in effect since 2006, you would be surprised to see how many people still chat on their phones while cruising down the highways. Well, if you’re one of them—stop now! Not only are you seriously endangering your life and those around you, but violating this law can also subject you to some very damaging fines.
For California drivers, first time offenders caught driving while talking or texting on their cell phone will be fined $20, with additional fees and fines driving the final ticket amount up to nearly $250. Not only will you waste time and money paying off these fees and showing up in court, but your insurance company might even charge you for a cell phone violation. While the Department of Motor Vehicles does not consider cell phone violations to be moving violations, some insurance companies will still charge their clients and cite one point on the driver’s record for the violation, possibly driving up the policy fees and costs.
Read the CHP guidelines here, which also dictate that drivers under the age of 18 cannot use their cell phones at all while driving, not even hands free. An interesting, and serious, fact: research shows that motorists talking on a phone are four times as likely to crash as other drivers, and are as likely to cause an accident as someone with a .08 blood alcohol content. You can find out which is actually more dangerous by watching an actual experiment with texting and drunk people; click here.
So next time your cell phone rings while you are driving, think about all the possible ticket fines and subsequent fees that you are subjecting yourself to, and either pull over to the side of the road to safely take the call, or ignore it all together. Or, invest in a headset and check your phone for voice activated controls that you could safely use on the road. BMR Insurance is a fan of the iPhone, which has cool speech recognition applications that can dial phone numbers from the numbers or by name of a person in your list of contacts spoken aloud.