States to Motorists: Hang Up
Number of tickets issued soars since states make talking a primary offense
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2008 2:10 PM CDT
An unidentified man talks on his cell phone as he drives in Lawrenceville, N.J. in this June 24, 2004 file photo.   (AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer, File)
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(Newser) – It might be time to get that hands-free cell: Tickets for phone use while driving are skyrocketing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. States are increasingly making yakking behind the wheel a primary offense, meaning police can pull motorists over just for that. California and Washington next week join New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and DC in enacting the strictest mobile phone laws.

Tickets in New Jersey alone increased eightfold over a year ago in the first 3 months after the rules were tightened March 1. "People have to change their habits," says an assemblyman who sponsored the tougher law.. And a state highway official says: "I'm seeing more people using hands-free devices, for sure."