A new California Vehicle Code prohibits individuals from using a wireless telephone while driving unless that telephone allows for hands-free listening and talking. Eliciting a fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense, this law went into effect July 1, 2008.
The law permits a driver to use a wireless telephone in cases of emergencies to call law enforcement, the fire department, or other emergency services agencies. Operators of authorized emergency vehicles or vehicles on private property are exempt from this law. In addition, individuals operating commercial motor trucks or tractors, excluding pickups, are permitted to use to a two-way radio with a “push-to-talk” feature.
While one may use a Bluetooth or earpiece device, both ears cannot be covered. This law permits using the speakerphone function of a wireless telephone while driving as well as dialing. Text messaging is not specifically prohibited under this law, but officers can issue a citation if, in their opinion, an individual was not driving safely.
Motorists under the age of 18 may not use a wireless telephone or hands-free device while driving. Individuals over the age of 18 that are convicted of violating this law will not receive a point on their drivers’ licenses, although the conviction will appear on their driving records. It is also important to note that this law DOES apply to out-of-state drivers in California.
If you have questions regarding vehicle code infractions that can impact your driving record call Wallin & Klarich 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 1-888-749-0034.