New California Bill Clarifies Hands Free Driving

We all understand that using your cell phone while driving is dangerous and likely to cause an accident, but so many of us still engage in the behavior. In addition, motorcyclists understand that talking while holding a cell phone or texting while driving is prohibited by state law, but a gray area exists regarding what other activities on a smartphone constitute a distraction. For example, what if you are using your phone to look for directions or choose a song from your music library? Are these tasks prohibited? A new bill signed by Governor Brown hopes to make it clearer to drivers what is and is not prohibited and increase automobile safety.

What Does the New Hands Free Bill Include?

The California State Senate and Assembly quickly passed the bill with strong support. The new law focuses on how the driver uses the handheld device. For example, a driver can no longer hold a smartphone while driving. An exception exists if the driver is making a single swipe or tap given that the device is attached to the windshield or dashboard of the vehicle. This type of use is consistent with using the device for its GPS function, not texting while driving.These changes will prevent a motorcyclist or automobile driver from holding the phone while talking on the phone’s speakerphone function. The new law will not go into effect until January 1, 2017.

Fines for Violation of the New Law

The fine for using a handheld device while driving did not increase in the new bill. A driver who is stopped and cited for driving while using a handheld device will face a fine of $20. However, the fine increases to $50 for each ticket after the initial citation.

Our San Diego motorcycle accident firm specializes in assisting victims after an accident. If you are unsure what to do after the accident, please call (619) 781-1360 to request a free, no obligation consultation with one of our lawyers. In addition, you can visit our website to learn more about what we do and to submit a consultation request form. The time to file a personal injury claim in California is limited to two years, so please do not hesitate to contact us today. Not filing a timely claim can cause you to lose your legal right to recover damages for your injuries. Therefore, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

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by Staff

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