California Cell Phone Law
New California Driving Law Effective July 1, 2008: Cellular Phone Use While Driving
July 1st has come and past and that means it's time for a major change in the lives of many California drivers. Why? Because July 1st the new CA state law addressing electronic device (cell phones, laptops, text messaging, etc.) use while driving went into effect.
So what does this update to the CA Vehicle Code mean for Californian drivers? That all depends on your age.
Cell Phone Law For Minors (under the age of 18)
Sorry teens, but you won't be allowed to operate ANY electronic device while you are driving a motor vehicle. That includes no cellular phones, no sending text messages, no PDA's, etc. In addition, minors are not allowed to be driving even if their phone is hands-free. Only time a phone may be used in exception to this new law: if there is a true emergency.
Cell Phone Law For Adults (over the age of 18)
You can still use your cell phone in your vehicle if you use a hands-free device. So if you're planning to talk on the road, you'll want to equip yourself with a Bluetooth device or another hands free technology.
Why California is Cracking Down on Distracted Drivers
It's easy to understand why the state of California does not want drivers traveling around and talking on the phone at the same time. Driving while distracted greatly increases your chance of getting into an auto collision. In fact, 4,300 auto accidents a day are the result of distracted driving. And when it comes to teens, a largely inexperienced group of drivers, driving distracted is even more catastrophic. According to a California Department of Motor Vehicles study, teen drivers failed 54% of driving tasks (such as avoiding a swerving vehicle) while talking on a cell phone!
What's the Penalty for Driving with a Cell Phone?
What's the punishment for violating this new CA cell phone law? A base fine of $20 for first offenders and then an additional $50 for each subsequent offense. The base fine does not include any court administrative fees. So when it's all said and done, you're looking at a fine of up to $250.
*For complete details regarding "Hand-Held Wireless Telephone: Prohibited Use" as described in CA Vehicle 23123, please visit your local CA DMV or read the vehicle code online at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc23123.htm.