How California Reduces Texting and Driving
Since 2008, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has implemented some variation of a "hands-free" law pertaining to the use of electronic devices while driving. While initially this law was specific to drivers under the age of 18, less than a year later, it expanded to encompass all individuals.
California was one of the first states to implement an outright ban on texting while driving; however, the laws have continued to adapt and change over time. Read on to learn more about this hands-free law.
What Are the Penalties for Texting and Driving?
Beginning in January 2020, drivers who use their phones while driving in California are subject to harsher penalties than previously. These new penalties impose fines, points on your driving record, and potentially a license suspension for repeat offenders. Not only that, but it's worth noting that having too many citations for texting and driving can cause your insurance premiums to increase.
How Severe Are The Penalties?
As of July 2021, the base fine for texting and driving is a minimum of $162 for a first-time offense and will increase with each subsequent citation. However, individual counties may choose to impose harsher fines.
Along with the fines, any driver who commits multiple texting and driving violations within 36 months will be subject to a point on their record.
Alternatives to Using Handheld Devices
It's important to note that drivers under 18 may not use an electronic device while driving in any capacity, hands-free or otherwise, unless in an emergency. However, even drivers 18 and above should consider safer alternatives, including:
- Install a car mount (however, there are some specifications).
- Have a passenger use the phone on your behalf.
- Turn the device on "Do Not Disturb," so you don't get alerted with notifications.
- Turn it off.
Whatever option you choose, remember that texting and driving may triple your risk of a collision, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
Effres & Effres has over 90 years of combined experience keeping you and your loved ones safe on California roads. If you need legal assistance following a crash that left you injured, we can help. Call (818) 222-9720 to schedule a free consultation today.