While out and about with the California Highway Patrol last week, we came upon a motorist who was stopped in the emergency lane along the right side of Highway 17, just before the Mount Hermon off ramp.
He was waiting for a call on his cell phone, despite having a hands free Bluetooth plugged into his ear.
Officer Sarah Jackson issued the Lexis driver a stern warning to never do that and sent him on his way.
Stopping on the side of the freeway or on- or-off-ramp is both illegal and unsafe, as emergency lanes on freeways are exactly for that — emergencies. The shoulder provides a haven for motorists who have a flat tire, engine problems or a traffic collision.
What’s more, sitting on the freeway shoulder or ramp opens the cell phone user up to a collision, as a distracted or impaired driver could lose control of their vehicle and collide with them.
The emergency lane can be used to make emergency calls, such as to 911 to report a problem.
Drivers who must make or take a cell phone call should exit the freeway and park in a safe place, such as in a shopping center or on a side street where parking is permitted.
In July 2008, California began requiring all drivers to put down their cell phones. While motorists age 18 and up may use a hands free device to place and receive calls, younger drivers may not use their cell phones at all.