San Diego police issued more than 600 tickets last week to motorists who were allegedly caught using their cell phones illegally while driving. In an effort to increase awareness for distracted driving, police instated a “zero tolerance policy” from Jan. 18-20 for cell phone use without a hands-free device.

During their campaign, police issued 593 tickets for drivers who talking on cell phones while driving without using a headset, and another 26 were given to drivers who were texting, reading or composing emails, or some other closely-related activity on their cell phone.

The cell phone crackdown was held as a cooperative effort from CHP and other officers throughout San Diego County to reduce distracted driving in San Diego and create awareness of the dangers of using cell phones while driving.

Wean yourself off of cell phone use while driving: 3 tips on how to be hands-free

The CHP and local police agencies enforced the “Hands Free is Ticket Free” campaign to discourage distracted driving. Tickets can cost an offender over $100, so the best way to stay safe and save your money is to obey the law.

While many drivers will agree, cell phone use while driving can be a hard habit to kick. It’s tempting to pick up a quick phone call while driving, but consider that 20 percent of personal injury car accidents in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving, and 18% of these car accidents were fatal, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Here are 3 tips on how to be hands-free, and stay hands-free once and for all!

# 1 – Get a hands-free device that you actually like

Many drivers by cheap or outdated hardware that’s hard to use, bulky, or inconvenient. The best way you can stay hands-free is to spend the extra few dollars on a headset that is easy to use.

Get a headset that uses Bluetooth, an innovative technology that does not require the use of cords that can often get tangled and be inconvenient.

Also, a good headset will provide loud, crisp sound quality so you can actually hear your caller more clearly.

# 2 – Keep your hands-free device handy

Just like your cell phone, make sure your headset is close within reach. Some companies have even made headset holsters that attach to your cell phone, so all you need to do is grab it and talk. Make sure you store your headset in the car, and avoid taking it out, since losing it or misplacing it can be a common deterrent to using a headset. Have it handy and available at all times.

# 3 – Consider in-cabin Bluetooth technology

The most “luxurious” of the hands-free devices is installing Bluetooth technology in the cabin of your vehicle so you can take calls directly from the steering wheel, and hear the caller’s voice from the car speakers.

You can speak aloud as if you are having an ordinary conversation, without the use of any headset, and your caller will be able to hear you and respond with ease. This complex but extremely user-friendly hands-free option is indeed a luxury, costing upwards of $1000, but it’s so easy and safe, many drivers are now making the switch.

What to do if you’ve been involved in a distracted driving car accident

If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving car accident, San Diego lawyer Michael Pines can evaluate your legal rights and represent you without any out-of-pocket expense on your behalf.

If your injuries have caused you lost wages, pain and suffering, or even long-term disabilities, San Diego auto attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael Pines will help you seek justice. Call 1-858-551-2090 now or contact us online.

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