California’s Cell Phone Law

January 1, 2008 11 By archshrk

Effective July 1, 2008, the legislation prohibits drivers from using a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle unless the driver uses a hands-free device. Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. It seems this would be a good time to consider the best earbuds under $50 to use for driving phone calls don’t you think? These fines are a little low in my opinion since the outcome of a distracted driver often causes injury and death, and here is when injury attorneys could be really of help, to get the right compensation if this situation happen to them, and you can even go to the website, to find the best lawyers for this.

Governor Schwarzenegger — Public Safety: California Highway Patarol

SEC. 3. Section 12810.3 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) Notwithstanding subdivision (f) of Section 12810, a violation point shall not be given for a conviction of a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 23123.
(b) The section shall become operative on July 1, 2008.

SEC. 4. Section 23123 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a) of Section 42001 or any other provision of law, a violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.

Read SB 1613 in it’s entirety.

A follow up to Leslie’s comment below…

SB 33 prohibits teens from using cell phones or any other “mobile service device” while driving. The fines are the same as those above.

SEC. 4. Section 23124 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
(a) This section applies to a person under the age of 18 years.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 23123, a person described in subdivision (a) shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a
wireless telephone, even if equipped with a hands-free device, or while using a mobile service device.

Update: I was wondering if using your speaker phone feature complies with the new law. Technically, it’s hands-free and no different than pushing the on/off button for an ear piece setup. Many phones even have voice dialing so what’s the difference? According to the DMV, speaker phone use is OK.

Q: Does the new ?hands-free? law prohibit you from dialing a wireless telephone while driving or just talking on it?
A: The new law does not prohibit dialing, but drivers are strongly urged not to dial while driving.

Q: Will it be legal to use a Bluetooth or other earpiece?
A: Yes, however you cannot have BOTH ears covered.

Q: Does the new “hands-free” law allow you to use the speaker phone function of your wireless telephone while driving?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the new ?hands-free? law allow drivers 18 and over to text message while driving?
A: The law does not specifically prohibit that, but an officer can pull over and issue a citation to a driver of any age if, in the officer?s opinion, the driver was distracted and not operating the vehicle safely. Sending text messages while driving is unsafe at any speed and is strongly discouraged.

Update: Effective January 1, 2009 – Text Messaging (SB 28/Simitian) This new law makes it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communication device, such as a cell phone, while driving.