Most states have hands-free laws, and if you live in California, you may be aware of the state's cell phone laws that went into effect in 2008. The laws prohibit drivers from holding their phones or any other electronic devices while operating a vehicle, with some exceptions. The law aims to reduce the risk of distracted driving and keep roads safer for all users.
Understanding California Hands-Free Law
California laws dictate that drivers may not use handheld devices while driving, and texting is prohibited. Drivers can use hands-free devices to make phone calls and use navigation tools while driving, but they are not allowed to write, send, or read text messages, or access the internet while driving, even if using a hands-free device.
How are California’s cell phone laws enforced?
Law enforcement officers can pull over drivers who they suspect of using a handheld cell phone while driving. If guilty, the driver can be cited for the violation and may be required to pay a fine. Repeat offenses can result in higher fines and additional penalties, such as points on the driver's license or a license suspension.
What are the exceptions to California’s hands-free law?
Drivers are allowed to use their phones to report an emergency situation or to seek help in the event of a breakdown. Texting or posting to social media is strictly prohibited.
How Much is a Cell Phone Ticket in California?
Violating California's hands-free law can result in a fine of up to $20 for the first offense. Second offenses (within 36 months of the first offense) result in a $50 fine. Third and subsequent offenses (within 36 months of the first offense) result in $100 fines. Violators also must pay applicable state and local fees and court costs.
Points for a Cell Phone Ticket in California
In California, if you receive 4 points within a year, 6 points within two years, or 8 points within three years, your driver's license may be suspended. In addition to possibly losing driving privileges, having points on your license can cause your insurance rates to increase. Insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine your premium, and a history of traffic violations can be a red flag that you are a higher risk. As a result, you may pay more for your insurance if you have points on your license.
Is a Hands-Free Law Violation a Crime?
Violating California's hands-free law is generally considered a traffic violation rather than a crime. However, in some cases, a traffic violation can be regarded as a crime if it causes serious injury to another person. For example, suppose a driver violates California's hands-free law and causes a car accident that results in injury or death. In that case, the driver could potentially be charged with a crime, such as vehicular manslaughter or reckless driving.
Distracted Driving Law for Drivers Under 18
Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use any wireless device while driving, even if it is hands-free. This includes making phone calls and using hands-free devices to text or access the internet. Violating California's cell phone laws for drivers under 18 can result in a fine of up to $70 and one point on the driver's license. It is vital for young drivers to be aware of these stricter laws and to follow them to ensure their own safety and the safety of others on the road.
It's important to follow the laws of the road and use a properly mounted hands-free device to stay safe and avoid penalties. Follow these three easy tips to help you stay compliant: Invest in a hands-free device: Many options, including Bluetooth headsets and steering wheel-mounted buttons, are available. Choose the option that works best for you, and make sure it's installed properly and ready to use before you hit the road. Properly mount your phone. Cup holder mounts like the Cell Phone Seat are great for keeping the phone out of your scope of view while driving.
Avoid using your phone at red lights or stop signs: Even if you're stopped, it's still illegal to use your phone while behind the wheel. Wait until you're safely pulled over and in a parked position before using your phone. Following these tips and using a hands-free device while driving can help keep California's roads safer and avoid costly penalties. Visit our website and learn more about how the Cell Phone Seat can help you stay safe and compliant with the law when you hit the road. .