The state of California implemented several laws that ban the use of cell phone while operating a vehicle. While driving to work this morning, I looked into my rear-view mirror and saw a woman in a minivan talking on her cell phone as she was driving. If I am going to talk on my cell phone when I am driving, I either use my headset or put the person who I am speaking to on speaker phone. And that got me thinking about what these hands free law saw. What constitutes being within the law, when it comes to hands free. Here are a few things I have learned:
- The law applies to ANYONE driving in California – whether they are from California or not.
- Handhelds may be used under the following circumstances:
- to make an emergency call to police, ambulance, fire department, or any other emergency service
- those who are operating emergency vehicles
- those who are operating their vehicle on private property
- The fine for a first offense is as low as $76, however a second offense is $190
- It will appear on your driving record BUT! it will NOT count as a point.
- Police have primary enforcement authority for this violation which means that they can pull you over just for this infraction
- Drivers under the age of 18 are not permitted to use a cell phone, pager, laptop, or any other electronic communication device – handheld or hands-free – to speak or text while driving
- there are NO exceptions for emancipated minors, nor are the exceptions if there is an adult driving with the minor
- minors are only permitted to use their phones in an emergency situation – to call police, ambulance, fire, etc.
- There is a separate law which prohibits texting and driving. Under this law, drivers are not allowed to write, send, or read a text message while operating their vehicle.
- the fine base for this violation is $20 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense thereafter, however, additional penalty assessments can make the fine more than double the base amount
Not only has it become against the law, but it can also be dangerous to use your phone when you are driving. There are just too many distractions and unfortunately accidents can and do occur.
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