A broader no-cell-phone law went into effect on September 1. This one was aimed at teenage distracted drivers.
Senate Bill 194 ends the exemption for hands-free devices in Kern County, if the driver is under 18. The emergency exception still applies: a driver of any age may use a cell phone to call the police, summon medical help and in other similar circumstances.
"Electronic wireless communication device" is also broadly defined to include most any Internet-enabled gadget that has some communicative capacity.
The cell phone law may or may not have been the solution, but there's no doubt that distracted driving is a serious problem.
Distracted drivers along Bakersfield and other cities take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel or their minds off the road. A hands-free device keeps your hands on the wheel, but does almost nothing to prevent the other causes of distracted driving:
SB 194 has the right idea. Texting while driving is the leading cause of death among teens. But the most important thing for drivers, and particularly young drivers, is having common sense in keeping yourself distraction free while driving.