Hey, it's for you: the Highway Patrol is calling

Cell phones are wonderful things. Now no matter where we are, we're never more than a phone call away from our loved ones, business associates, or folks we're trying to avoid. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

They're a great thing to have when you're traveling. Lost? Phone for directions. Going to be late? Let 'em know that traffic's bad (or you just couldn't roll out of bed on time). They do, however, come with their own whole set of problems as well.

As anybody knows who's seen their life pass in front of their eyes when they're cut of on the on-ramp by some nut just chatting away, cell phone use in a moving vehicle can be a real problem. While the whole area of "distracted driving" presents issues, whether it's listening to death metal at filling-loosening volume, or chowing down on today's dashboard dining entree, cell phone usage in moving vehicles has really grabbed the attention of the authorities.

Every jurisdiction has its own take on what's safe to do with a phone in a moving car or truck. There's a patchwork of regulations out there, seemingly ranging from "anything goes" to "don't touch that phone", and every shade of grey in between. The folks at jalopnik.com have put together a guide to rules for automotive use of cell phones, titled aptly enough Rules Of The Road: Jalopnik Guide To Cell Phone Usage Laws.

Now we're not lawyers (and presumably they aren't either), but this seems like a good stepping-off point in trying to figure out what exactly you can and can't do with your phone in your car. For more specifics, you'll want to contact your state or local authorities, and of course use your own best judgment and don't drive distracted.

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