California legislation outlawing driving whilst holding a mobile phone went into effect today, as well as prohibiting drivers under the age of 18 from using any mobile phone device while operating a vehicle. The California DMV has a handy FAQ about the new legislation. The new law doesn't prohibit text messaging though, nor other distractions such as shaving or eating. Many have already derided the law as ignoring the real distraction behind mobile phone use in cars - talking on the phone.
A recent article entitled "A meta-analysis of the effects of cell phones on driver performance" examines research and literature about mobile phones and driving to asess their affect on traffic safety. Talking on the phone is only one in a list of many distractions which affect a driver's performance, yet most legislation has targeted mobile phone use exclusively.
Is it a conspiracy to get people to buy new phones with Blue Tooth or a pretext for drivers to be stopped and searched? Hopefully neither.