Guide To Understanding Texting & Driving Laws in California


Distracted driving is one of the most serious issues on California roadways. Each year, thousands of people lose their lives because someone looked at their smartphone while behind the wheel. As you can see, texting while driving can not only lead to a Long Beach traffic ticket, it can also result in death and jail time for the perpetrator. This is why it is prudent for every driver in the state to be aware of California’s laws on the matter. That way you will never need a lawyer for cell phone ticket.

What Laws Are in Place?

Over the years, California has passed numerous laws regarding distracted driving. One of the earliest was the Handheld Wireless Telephone Law of 2008, which states that motorists cannot use any type of wireless, handheld device while operating a motor vehicle on a public road. This law did have exceptions. The law stated that someone who was at least 18 years of age could use a handless device, such as a speakerphone or Bluetooth.

Texting while driving became illegal in the state in 2009 with the Wireless Communications Device Law. This law states t hat drivers cannot text or respond to a text while behind the wheel. The law also relates to motorists who come from out-of-state. An exception to both of these laws is that motorists may use a smartphone during an emergency.

What Does the Law Do for Novice Drivers?

No teenager should ever have to ask, “Where is a traffic ticket lawyer near me?” That is why novice motorists cannot text or use a mobile device for any reason. That includes using a Bluetooth device. The only time novice drivers can use such a device is to get in touch with fire, police or medical authorities if an emergency is present.

What Does the Law State for CDL Holders?

The same rules are in place for motorists who hold a commercial driver’s license. Commercial drivers are not allowed to send texts or talk on the phone. However, commercial drivers are allowed to use a hands-free device.

What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?

The consequences for texting while driving vary depending on whether it is the driver’s first or subsequent offense. For the first and second offenses, drivers have to pay either $20 or $50 as a base fine. In the event of a conviction with a penalty assessment, those base fines can double or triple. Additionally, the infraction will go on the driver’s official record although he or she will not accumulate any points that go toward the suspension of a license.

Commercial drivers lose their ability to drive for 60 days after a second offense. They lose their licenses for 120 days after a third or future offenses. They may also need to pay a civil penalty fine of up to $2,750. Commercial drivers will accumulate points on their records for breaking the law.

There are many ways to avoid distracted driving. Motorists can turn off their smartphones before getting in the vehicle, and they can program their GPS or radio beforehand. In the event you do run into trouble with the law, get in touch with a distracted driving lawyer immediately.

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