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consequences for texting and driving

Using a Phone While Driving Is Illegal in California

consequences for texting and driving

In today’s world, pretty much every adult has a smart phone. These incredible little devices give people access to everything important in their lives. They allow people to stay in touch with loved ones even though they may be miles apart. Unfortunately, these devices can be incredibly addicting.

Just like everything out there in the world, there is a time and place to use smart phones. One of the worst times for a person to use their phone is while driving. Driving while distracted is very dangerous. The driver takes their eyes off the road to look at a tiny little screen. They are no longer paying attention to what they are doing, which can easily cause accidents.

A first time offense of using a cellphone while driving can start at around $50 dollars. Repeat offenses can cost around $250 dollars. That is a lot of money to pay just for answering a text message. This is another reason why a driver should never pick up their phone while driving. It just isn’t worth it.

While using a cellphone while driving may seem like it is not that big of a deal, it is still very dangerous and illegal. In most instances, people who are pulled over for breaking this law claim to be law abiding citizens. They don’t seem to realize that by picking up their phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are breaking the law and risking their live plus the lives of everyone around them.

Hands Free Devices While Driving

The Low Down on Hands Free Devices While Driving in California

Hands Free Devices While Driving

Cell phones and motorists are a bad mix. The split second it takes to answer the phone is enough time to get into a serious accident, and as if that’s not bad enough, most California motorists pay more attention to the person their speaking to than they do driving their car.

California’s Laws Regarding the Use of Cell Phones in Vehicles

In an attempt to keep motorists’ minds on their driving, California lawmakers have passed several laws designed to curtail the use of cell phones on the road. Most motorists know about the laws the prohibit picking up the phone and holding it while driving as well as the laws that state they can’t text while they’re driving. Fewer are aware of the fact that any driver under the age of 18 is prohibited from using even hands-free devices and speaker phone while they’re behind the wheel.

Based on statistics that show that even drivers who use a hands-free device while on the phone are at an increased risk for getting into a serious accident, it’s likely that a day will come when even drivers over 18 will be penalized for using the devices while driving.

The Consequences of Using a Cell Phone While Behind the Wheel

California’s patrol officers are constantly looking for drivers who are breaking the rules and talking on the cell phone. Even the faintest hint that you’re phoning while driving and they will pull you over. Do to the severity of the accidents that have happened as a direct result of cell phone use, most aren’t sympathetic and won’t let you go with a warning.

The first time an officer catches you using a cell phone while driving, you’ll get hit with a $20 ticket. After that, the cost goes up to $50. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you were doing things like speeding, weaving, or not obeying traffic signs while you were talking, those will be added to the ticket, driving up the amount the state collects from you. Most people who are pulled over for using their cell phone while they’re behind the wheel, ultimately pay $250 in traffic fines.

In addition to the cost of the ticket, most insurance companies raise the rates of drivers who are ticketed for cell phone use.

Exceptions to the Rule

Yes, there are times when you can be behind the wheel and use your phone, but they’re limited to a few outstanding situations. Those times include:

  • Making a 911 emergency call
  • If you’re driving an emergency vehicle
  • If you’re driving on private property

The best way to stay out of trouble and avoid costly fines while also reducing the risk of you getting into an accident is pulling over to the side of the road if you need to make a call.

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Texting and Driving Laws in California

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Texting while driving is against the law in the state of California. That has been the case for several years, and it continues to be the case now, even with the recent amendments to the distracted driving laws here in the state.

It used to be, that the distracted driving laws specifically targeted things such as texting and driving. However, due to their specific nature, they left out a lot of other uses that smart phones have. With the new changes that took place in January of 2017, more scenarios are prohibited under distracted driving laws.


The new laws now prohibit the use of any wireless device while behind the wheel of a car. A driver can no longer use his or her smartphone for anything while driving. This is meant to help keep both hands on the wheel, and all of the driver’s focus on the road.


With the new laws, drivers are still permitted to use their devices for calling and texting, but only when using hands-free methods, such as voice controls. However, this exception is only for drivers who are over the age of 18. Drivers who are under the age of 18 are not allowed to use any devices while driving, even devices with hands-free capabilities.

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Driving with a Cell Phone in California

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In California, the laws about using a phone while driving were pretty limited in the past. It used to be, that the law only prohibited the using a device to read, write, or send text based communications. This failed to cover using a phone for any other purpose, which as many of us know, smart phones can do a whole lot of different distracting tasks.

However, that changed at the start of this year. At the start of 2017, California expanded the law to include the use of any and all wireless devices while driving. This new law does not specifically target one smart phone use, such as texting. Instead, this law prohibits drivers from holding and using a wireless device while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

With this new wording, all uses of smart phones are covered, not just texting. There are still some instances when using a device while driving is allowed, and they are:

  • The driver is over the age of 18 and is using a hands-free, voice operated device.
  • The driver is using a factory installed system in the vehicle.
  • The driver is turning of a GPS function on a smart phone, provided the action only takes one swipe or tap of the screen.
  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any devices while driving, even if they are hands free.

All of this is meant to help keep the roads safe for everyone. By updating the law to include all uses of a smart phone, drivers will have less distractions while behind the wheel of a car. Doing this can reduce the number of accidents on the road, and save thousands of lives.


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Texting While Driving Is Illegal

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Being distracted while driving can be very risky. If a driver is not fully paying attention to the road around him or her, they run the chance of hitting something they could have avoided. Car accidents can be very destructive, especially at higher speeds. This is why many state around the country have laws against driving while using a cellphone.

Just this year, California updated its laws regarding cellphones and distracted driving. It used to be, that only using a phone to make a call or send a text while driving was illegal. Now, this new version of the law covers all hands-on usage of a cellphone while driving. The law prohibits drivers from holding and operating any wireless device while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Drivers over the age of 18 are still allowed to use wireless devices if they are in a hands-free mode.

A driver caught using a wireless device while driving, for the first time will face a $20 dollar fine. A second and any subsequent offense will earn the driver a $50. This may not sound like much, these are just base numbers. After assessment of the situation, the fines will most likely increase to $150 for a first time offense, and over $250 for any subsequent offenses.

Ultimately, texting, or using a phone at all, while driving is not worth it. Not only does a person run the risk of paying a fine, they run the risk of causing a serious accident. A distracted driver can very easily bring harm to themselves or someone else simply because they were not paying enough attention while driving.


Do not take that risk, the message can wait until you reach your destination.


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Texting and Driving? Too Much, New Laws

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Let us be real, these days, texting and driving is no longer texting and driving. It is more like social media-ing and driving, or navigating maps and driving because smart phones have come so far in just a few years. This has caused driving and cell phone laws to be expanded, starting this year.

Starting this year, cell phones must be mounted to the dash, the lower left or upper left corner of the windshield, if the driver wishes to use it while driving. With it mounted, the driver may make one single tap or swipe on the phone.

Other laws regarding cell phone use while driving still exist of course, but the new ones just expanded on them.

The goal is to reduce distracted driving and consequences of such instances like accidents and arrests.

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About the New California Cell Phone Use and Driving Laws

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New California laws banning the use of cellphones while driving have officially been put into place starting January 1, 2017. While such laws have already existed in California for some time now, the new laws expand on existing ones. The existing ones are outdated, having begun when smart phones were less advanced than today, and apps like Waze and social media platforms were less popular.

The new laws say that drivers may only do a single swipe or tap on their phone, but their phone must be mounted on the dashboard or windshield in the driver’s lower left or upper left corner. A phone mounted in the middle of the windshield is illegal. This allows drivers to use their GPS maps while still maintaining focus on their driving and the road.

We know all the possible outcomes a car accident can lead to: fines, arrest, jail time, hospitalization, death. No one wants to experience any of that. Drivers, please be aware and knowledgeable of your driving rights and laws.