Don’t Hold Your Phone while Driving in California

In 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1785 into law. This law, which has been in effect since January 1, 2017, states that it is now illegal for any individual in California to hold a smartphone or cellphone while driving.

Similar laws have been in place since 2006, but those outdated regulations only considered texting and conversing over the phone while holding the device. Since that time, smartphones have become more sophisticated and they can be used for many other purposes. This new rule covers every possible use, including checking the calendar or consulting an online map on the smartphone.

Why Is There a Need for This New Law?

There are 2 main reasons for this. One obvious reason is that holding a smartphone is very distracting, and such distractions can lead to serious accidents. The California Office of Traffic Safety maintains that 80% of all crashes result for some form of driver inattention, and that about 3,000 people die each year in the US die to driver distractions.

The most common distraction for many drivers these days is using a smartphone, and they can take away the attention, eyes, and hands of drivers from where they’re supposed to be. Experts say that driving while using the smartphone by hand is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

The other reason for the update to the law is that smartphones these days are more versatile, and you can use them in many other ways other than talking to someone or sending a text. You can go online and use it to watch videos, or it can function as a portable camera or video recorder. The law closes any possible loophole, so that you just can’t use a smartphone by hand for any reason whatsoever.

Consequences of the New Law

If you’re found guilty of breaking this law, your first offence will result in a $20 fine. Subsequent violations will cost $50. Since your violations will be public record, your insurance company may also raise your premiums because this irresponsible behavior is positive proof that you’re a great risk for them.

There are exceptions to this law, however. Emergency personnel can use their phones while they are driving their emergency vehicles. It also doesn’t cover built-in devices in the vehicle. Today, many such systems allow for drivers to engage in conversations using only voice commands. If you are arrested for this, call a San Diego Criminal Lawyer, for help.

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San Diego, CA,


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