State ban on cellphones while driving starts in 3 months

Starting July 1, a new California law limits the use of cell phones while driving--an issue that UC Davis addressed in a campus policy updated last year.

The state law, outlined in an FAQ from the California Highway Patrol, forbids use of handheld cell phones by all drivers, although drivers 18 and older may use hands-free devices during calls. The goal is to reduce injuries and accidents caused by distracted driving.

Campus policy already directs UC Davis employees not to use cell phones or similar equipment when operating a motor vehicle, unless the employee is an emergency worker, or is using the phone during an emergency. The state law also permits exceptions during emergencies.

"The safe alternative," said Dave Klem, director of the Communications Resources unit of Information and Educational Technology, "is to simply pull over if you need to make a call."