The new Distracted Driving Law in California prohibits the use of any handheld device while driving. The law means drivers can’t make phone calls, program GPS, adjust music controls, or worse, read text messages. While the list of things you can’t do is pretty long there are things you can do under the new law. Most lawmakers and voters alike are drivers and use cell phones as well. Those same people who created and passed this law just want us all to be smarter and safer when using our devices while driving.
Following the new Distracted Driving Law in California doesn’t mean you need to go without a phone while driving, you just need to use it properly.
What You CAN Do
Today, our smartphones carry our lives in them. Everything from phone numbers to memories and more can be found on one’s smartphone. When it comes to driving, our smartphones can help us get where we’re going, play music for us and even help us in the event of an accident. The problem is, with the new distracted driving law in California, it seems safer to just turn off your device. Luckily, you don’t need to turn off the device, you just need to use it properly while behind the wheel. The law is a no hands law, meaning, you can’t have a device in your hands while driving, but you can have them elsewhere. There is nothing prohibiting you from using a docking system attached to your dashboard, windshield or car vent.
Tap and Swipe
There are still restrictions on what you can do when your device is attached to a docking system. The wording allows you to use your smartphone while attached to a docking system but only one swipe and tap at a time. That means you need to either have everything with a tap or a swipe’s reach. There are apps that are meant to be used while driving that put everything within reach that you may need like navigation, phone, and music or podcast apps. If a function you want requires more than a tap or a swipe and can’t be controlled by your voice, it can’t be done while driving. Using your smartphone this way while driving will help keep you safe behind the wheel.
Many new cars are starting to come with features that help you communicate easier with the outside world. These features include voice controls, calling features, and more. If your vehicle comes with any of these features, you must connect your phone while the car is in park. Once connected, you can use the hands-free features that come with your vehicle without any issue. Make phone calls, set navigation, even send text messages using technology that may come preinstalled in your vehicle.
Many places around the web have been posting penalties for the first offense to be $20 and $50 for every subsequent infraction. However, after fees and processing, the first ticket will cost more like $160. Every infraction after the first will total a whopping $285. That means that text message could cost you up to $285 and there are no text messages worth that much money.