New year, new laws. That's always how it works in California…and every other state for that matter! One of the more buzzed about laws to take effect this year is California's enhanced cell phone ban. Before 2017, drivers were not allowed to talk on their cell phones and drive. Now drivers are not even allowed to hold their cell phone while driving. That's right, a cell phone simply in your hand will now land you with a traffic ticket that increases with each new offense. The new California cell phone law, (which went into effect Jan. 1, 2017) also includes other electronic devices such as GPS systems.
The aim of the law is pretty simple and obvious—to curb cell phone related distractions that often lead to accidents. The Sacramento Bee quotes the law's author, Assemblyman Bill Quirk, “The whole idea is that you don't have your phone in your hand. Period.” The new law was a reaction to the major loophole present in the original cell phone law—that people were still using their phones for lots of other distracting activities that did not involve talking. As it stands right now, the first ticket for this specific offense is $20 and then goes up to $50.
Here are some important things to know about the new law:
- Mount it: If you want to use your cell phone while driving then it needs to be mounted in a place that does not obstruct your view of the road in any way or block air bags. Possible acceptable locations include a console and certain parts of the windshield.
- Swipe: Here's where you might think things can get a little complicated—while you are not allowed to hold your phone in any way, you are still allowed to do a single tap or swipe of your mounted phone in order to get a given task done (i.e. answer a call on blue-tooth, start a ride as an Uber or Lyft driver, etc)
- Hand-free: If you use your phone in a voice-activated mode and not in your hands then you are still within the law.
Getting a traffic ticket is not how you want to start your new year. At Kann California Defense Group, we are here to help with all your traffic violations and will work hard to keep your driving record clean and your fines to a minimum. As many drivers find out the hard way—ignorance of the law is no defense so make sure you check our blog often to stay abreast of all the new changes to California motor vehicle and criminal laws. If you are dealing with a traffic ticket in Los Angeles or Ventura Counties, be sure to give us a call today for a free consultation.