California Passes New Mobile Phone Law Prohibiting Having Phone in Hand While Driving Within the State
New California Mobile Phone Law Requires Hands Free Mount – There is a new cell phone law in California which tightens the gap left in the previous cell phone driving law, making it now mandatory to have your cell phone mounted to the dash or the windshield “in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.” It is now illegal to hold your cell phone in your hand.
California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, imposes a $20 fine for the first violation, and a $50 fine for every subsequent violation of the new cell phone law. Just follow the common sense guideline of voice-operated and hands-free operation; purchase a phone mount to affix to your dashboard, and don't touch your phone more than just a one finger tap or a one finger swipe, and you should be OK. It is legal to affix the mount to the lower left or lower right corner of your windshield, but not any other area of the windshield.
You cannot hold your cell phone in your hand anymore, period. You cannot keep it in your lap, or in your cup holder anymore, either. It MUST be in the mount that is affixed to your car. Can you leave it in your purse or your briefcase? Yes, because it is not in your “hand” while you are “operating” it. Can you leave it in your back pocket? Probably, as long as you don't dig it out to dial it. And it goes without saying that texting while driving is an absolute no-no. Unless you can text with one tap or one swipe of one finger, of course.
The first cell phone law came into effect in 2006 when cell phones were in the hands of almost every driver. The reason for the codification of the prohibition was because distracted driving became a major contributor to motor vehicle accidents. A study that was concluded in that same year said that talking on a cell phone while driving was equally as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. In the past few years, cell phone users have been able to access the internet and do many awesome tricks with their cell phones, which provoked an update of the 2006 law that significantly broadened the restrictions.
Also included in the new cell phone law prohibition is any and all broadband and wireless devices, including tablets, pagers and laptops. As was expected, the new law does not apply to emergency service professionals such as police and fire fighters.
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