We all know that texting and driving is dangerous, but is it actually illegal in California? The short answer is, yes.
Handheld Device Law
California Vehicle Code Sections 23123 and 23123.5 outline the laws surrounding texting and driving in California. The law states that no driver shall operate a handheld device while driving. It’s important to note that this law doesn’t apply to the passengers in the vehicle, only to the driver. This section applies specifically to adults, but CVC section 23124 outlines the same law for minors.
The law doesn’t apply to cell phones alone. It also applies to all “electronic wireless communications devices” including laptop computers, pagers, broadband personal communication devices and other handheld devices.
Exceptions to the Law
There are a few exceptions to the basic law regarding texting and driving and other uses of handheld devices. These exceptions are:
- Manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle
- Hands-free devices, talk-to-text and other hands-free methods of operating devices
- Emergency services professionals using handheld devices while operating an authorized emergency vehicle
Talking on a cell phone while driving also comes with other exceptions, including:
- A person driving a school bus or transit vehicle
- Anyone driving a vehicle on public property
- Someone using a cell phone to call for emergency services
Penalties for Texting and Driving in California
The fine for texting and driving or operating a cell phone while driving is $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offences. This is just the base fine. The actual amount of the ticket will likely be much greater once additional fees and assessments are added.
The good news is that receiving a traffic ticket for texting and driving will not add points to your driving record, nor does it require traffic school.
Do not ignore the ticket if you are cited for using a handheld device while driving. Ignoring the ticket can lead to further violations and even a misdemeanor. It’s in your best interest to seek legal advice right away to get your fines reduced or the ticket thrown out altogether.
Mr. Ticket Can Help
If you\’ve been issued a ticket for texting and driving, you have rights. Mr. Ticket can help protect those rights. The law offices of Amir Soleimanian & Associates, Inc – Mr. Ticket – have over ten years of experience fighting traffic tickets in California. Don’t pay those costly fines and risk leaving a stain on your driving record. Call Mr. Ticket today for a free consultation regarding your case.