A new California law could get you in trouble starting on Sunday if you’re caught with a phone in your hand while driving. Assembly Bill 1785 was originally signed in September 2016 by Governor Jerry Brown and it prohibits the use of any electronic communications devices to be used while behind the wheel.

Although the current law prohibits using handheld devices or texting behind the wheel, this new law would ban using any of those devices including that all phones must be mounted on a dashboard and be voice operated while driving. This California law comes down after a persistent number of distracted driving accidents despite numerous educational campaigns designed to curb the behavior.

Drivers are also responsible for setting their own GPS navigation systems before starting the car. Drivers are limited to using only one swipe or tap on their mounted phones while driving. A violator could face $20 for their first offense and $50 for every subsequent offense. The California highway patrol has reported that the changes in this law will make it easier to identify distracted drivers no matter what they are doing on their device at the time. This is because the new law now requires that if there is a phone in the hand of a driver, it is against the law.

California police officers previously struggled to figure out whether or not drivers were texting or not, using GPS, adding in a phone number or other materials. Bear in mind that according to the new rule, holding a phone speaker while driving does also not qualify as being hands-free. The California Highway Patrol is in support of this new law as a result of the fact that they have identified more individuals using smartphones while driving.

Get in the habit early and install a Bluetooth connection or leave your phone out of reach. Distracted driving accidents may be even more likely over the coming holiday, so play it safe and stay off the roads or rely on public transportation and cabs to get you where you need to be this New Year’s Eve.

 

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