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Hands-free laws expanded for California drivers

As smartphones have become so much more than portable calling devices, California law has worked to keep pace with the new technology that changes the day to day lives of millions. The Los Angeles Times reported that a new law restricts cell phone usage while driving further than regulations previously went, due to the changing technology available on most phones. The existing laws, which went into place back in 2006, banned drivers on California streets and highways from making calls or texting while driving unless they were using hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, to complete these actions.

Now that smartphones have such a wide array of capabilities, the law now goes further. Taking pictures and  streaming video while driving without being hands-free are now also illegal. Bill Quirk, the author of the bill that was signed into law, posted on his Twitter that in 2015 there were 12 cell phone-related distracted driving accidents, and he wants this law to “bring that number closer to zero.”

According to the Daily Breeze, this law will also make it illegal to use other wireless devices in a driver’s hand, including GPS devices or laptops. For minors, these restrictions go even further. Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use devices at all while driving--even in hands-free mode. Fines for breaking this law are considered infractions, and it is a $20 base fine for a first offense and $50 for subsequent violations, however with additional assessments added drivers can expect to pay up to $150 the first time and up to $250 for those following.



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