An amazing video on the dangers of texting and driving. A must see for everyone – especially teens. It’s against the law in California to text and drive, but you still see people doing this – and we still see the collisions as a result…just like in this video.
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Wireless Communications Device and Wireless Telephone Laws FAQs
It’s crucial to your survival on our roadways to be 100% alert behind the wheel. That’s why the cell phone laws were passed, whether you’re holding a cell phone to talk or text. In California, laws were passed when it was found that 60% of our collisions were cell phone related. But, you still see people “breaking the law” – taking the risk of getting a citation – or causing a collision, leading to injury and/or DEATH!
Below is a refresher on these laws…made for our safety.
The new Wireless Communications Device Law (effective January 1, 2009) makes it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.
Two additional laws dealing with the use of wireless telephones while driving went into effect July 1, 2008. The first law prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a “hands-free device. The second law effective July 1, 2008, prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions concerning these laws.
Q: When did the wireless communications device (no texting) law take effect?
A: The law took effect January 1, 2009.
Q: When did the handheld wireless telephone laws take effect?
A: The laws took effect July 1, 2008.
Q: What is the difference between these laws?
A: The first law prohibits all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle, (California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123). Motorists 18 and over may use a “hands-free device.” The second law prohibits all drivers from texting while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23123.5). The third law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a wireless telephone or hands-free device while operating a motor vehicle (VC §23124).
Text messaging is now illegal in the state of California. Texting is now a violation of the state vehicle code, subjecting drivers caught writing them or reading them to a $20 fine for the first offense and $50 for repeat offenses.
The new law is the handiwork of state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, who also wrote the hands-free cell phone legislation that went into effect July 1, 2008. In just under six months, the California Highway Patrol has handed out 45,000 citations to violators of that law, and the CHP is expected to have its hands full trying to keep up with motorists who have their hands full of tiny QWERTY keyboards, thumbing their way down the open road.
It took Simitian six years to get hands-free calling through the Legislature and onto California’s roadways, but he says he encountered almost no resistance to the no-texting law. “It’s really the worst of all possible worlds,” Simitian said of texting, which has grown increasingly popular with supposedly grown-up drivers. “Eyes off the road, and hands off the wheel. That’s a dangerous combination for all of us, not just the people who are texting.”
Strictly speaking, it’s still not illegal to drive a vehicle in California while you are, say, applying mascara, or shaving your legs, or even worshipping that pine-scented air freshener on the dashboard.
“Nowhere in the vehicle code does it say you cannot put your makeup on, or read the newspaper, or do a thousand other things,” said Sgt. Paul Woo of the San Jose Police Department’s traffic enforcement unit. “But if that causes you to drive unsafely, then yes, you could be cited.”