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Cell Phone Safety

Find out how to minimize potential health and safety risks from cell phones.

Regulations and UC policy

California hand-held wireless telephone law prohibits drivers from using a hand-held cell phone while operating a vehicle. Hands-free operation of cell phones and use for emergency purposes is permitted.

California Vehicle Code, Section 23123.5 Electronic Wireless Communications Device Prohibited Use prohibits writing, sending, or reading text-based communications on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.

UC cell phone policy requires employees to avoid using a university-provided cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. See:

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Hang up and drive

Using a headset or speaker phone helps keep your hands on the steering wheel, but won't keep your attention on driving. Learn more about the danger of distracted driving.

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Radio frequency (RF) energy

Cell phone users concerned about possible health risks associated with RF emitted by the phones can take these precautions:

  • Reduce the amount of time you spend on cell phones by using a conventional phone whenever possible.
  • In your car, use a hands-free device or speaker mode.
  • Purchase a phone with a low specific absorption rate (SAR). SAR is measured in watts per kilogram of RF, and the maximum SAR allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is 1.6. In contrast, some "low-radiation" phones have SARs lower than 0.5.

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