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2008 Driving Laws Target Minors And Cell-Phones

By Steven Thomas

In 2008 six states have new driving laws going into effect that relate specifically to minors,cell-phone use and text messaging by drivers. Some of the new laws are secondary enforcement laws that will not be enforced unless the driver is violating a primary law such as speeding, reckless driving or running a red light. All of the new laws listed below provide exceptions for emergencies, reporting illegal activity and use by public safety officials.

California has two new driving laws that relate to hands-free cell-phone use and minors. The first law is called Senate Bill 1613 and goes into effect on July 1 st 2008. The new driving law prohibits the use of a wireless telephone while driving unless a hands-free device is used as a talking and listening device. The other new California driving law is Senate Bill 33. This law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a wireless telephone or any mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. Unlike the other new California driving law, there are no exceptions for hands-free devices.
Related article: California DUI Law

Illinois also has two new driving laws that will go into effect on January 1 st , 2008. One of the new laws is Senate Bill 140. This bill prohibits drivers under the age of 19 from using any type of hand-held communication device such as a cell-phone or text messaging device while operating a motor vehicle. The other new law falls under the same bill and prohibits school bus drivers from using a cell-phone while the bus is transporting children to and from school.

Nebraska has their first cell-phone legislation going into effect on January 1 st , 2008. Legislative Bill 415 prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a wireless communication device while driving. This legislation includes personal digital assistants (PDA's), mobile or cellular telephones, messaging devices, audio-video players that send or receive messages, and laptop computers. This bill is a secondary enforcement law.

New Jersey has had a hands-free law since 2004, but in November of 2007 the law has been amended from a secondary enforcement law to a primary law. This means a driver that violates the hands-free cell phone law can be pulled over and ticketed solely on the basis of using a cell-phone without a hands-free device. The amendment also prohibits text-messaging while driving. The text-messaging portion of the bill is effective on March 3 rd , 2008.

Oregon has passed a new law that goes into effect on January 1 st , 2008. Oregon House Bill 2872 prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using any type of mobile communication device while they are operating a motor vehicle. The law includes text-messaging device and does not include an exception for hands-free devices. The law includes drivers under 18 and driving with a provisional driver's license, a special student or instruction permit. This new law is only enforceable as a secondary offense.

Washington State has two new driving laws that relate to cell-phone use and text-messaging. The text-messaging ban begins the January 1 st 2008. This new law is called EHB 1214 and it prohibits the use of an electronic wireless communications device to send, read or write a text message. The other new law is ESSB 5037. This new driving law goes into effect on July 1 st, 2008 and prohibits drivers from holding a wireless communication device to their ear. There are exceptions for tow truck drivers, emergency vehicles and talking in hands-free mode. The two new laws in Washington State are secondary enforcement laws. If you are ticketed for text-messaging, the infraction will not become part of your driving record and the information is given to insurance companies or employers.

Steve Thomas is the webmaster of http://www.drivinglaws.org a website that provides information about hands-free driving laws in the United States.






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