Although California law passed legislation in 2006 that prohibits drivers from talking and texting while driving, Assembly Bill 1785 imposes additional restrictions that prohibit drivers from holding and operating cell phones for any purpose. Your passengers, including those back seat drivers, may still hold their cell phones and talk, text, take photos, or attempt to give you directions from whatever map they’ve pulled up on their cell phone. However, you, Driver, must use an approved hands-free device. Here’s how California Law reads, in pertinent part:
“A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.”
Now you wonder how you will conduct that business meeting, or speak with your kids or spouse, while driving. While we all know it is surely safer to remain focused while driving with your eyes on the road, the legislature also knows there may be times when you want to make or take that call. Yet, the law mandates it must be done using an approved hands-free device, or with a device that is mounted on the center console, dashboard, or the windshield. Furthermore, it must be mounted as you would mount a portable GPS device. In other words, it must be mounted in a manner that “does not hinder [your] view of the road.” It also must not be mounted anywhere that would impair the driver’s view nor may it block a potential airbag deployment. And should your cell phone have a touch screen, the law will only allow use of it for “the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.”
By the way, if you are pulled over by law enforcement and found to be in violation of the law, you will be fined $20 for your first offense. For subsequent violations, that amount goes up to $50. Talk if you must. Just do it safely and use a hands-free, voice-activated device, in accordance with the California law.
Lastly, while we do not prescribe one brand of hands-free, voice-activated devices over another, we are happy to provide two review websites for your convenience. Of course, there are many others on the internet. Here is our pick:
Blue Tooth: http://www.toptenreviews.com/mobile/accessories/best-bluetooth-headsets/
Hands-Free Mounting Devices: http://heavy.com/tech/2015/07/top-best-hands-free-cell-phone-car-mount/
Remember, it’s not only against the law to talk and text using your cellphone without a hands-free, voice-activated device, while driving, it is also dangerous. Exercise caution and travel safely.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an automobile accident, call us. We are here to help.
 To read the law in its entirety, please visit the following website: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH§ionNum=23123.5
(Assembly Bill 1785 was repealed and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 660, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2017.)
(Artwork courtesy of www.VenturaCountyStar.com/greenburg)
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