A new distracted driving law has been introduced in California.
The law, which came into effect on January 1, 2017, means it is now illegal to hold a cell phone or similar electronic communications device while driving.
A phone may legally be used while driving if operated in a hands-free manner. The California Office of Traffic Safety has explained the circumstances in which it is legal to touch a cell phone while driving. These include the phone or communications device being mounted on a vehicle’s windshield and the driver being able to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the device with a single finger swipe or tap.
Violation of the law is punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense. The California Office of Traffic Safety has pointed out that after fees and penalties are added the stated base fine, the ticket will actually cost at least $160 for the first offense and at least $285 for the second offense.