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The next time you see a panhandler in Bakersfield, take a moment to read the cardboard sign, because maybe BPD officers are taking their cue from officers in San Bernardino who recently posed as homeless people to nab distracted drivers.

Instead of pleas for money, plainclothes officers held signs warning motorists about the risk of driving with cellphones, issuing tickets to a number of violators. Authorities report that one talented woman was talking on her phone and applying mascara while driving; another woman received her second cellphone ticket in as many weeks. Like many other California cities, San Bernardino is cracking down on distracted drivers.

Texters usually take their eyes off the road for at least five seconds per incidence, and at 55mph, most vehicles travel roughly the length of a football field in that time period.

Cellphone Laws in The Golden State

Distracted driving is a vexing problem in Fresno County, because although 98 percent of drivers say they know texting and driving is dangerous, upwards of 45 percent admit that they do it anyway. Furthermore, after a rather sharp dip, illegal cellphone use is on the rise again.

In addition to school zone laws and some other special restrictions, there are three primary cellphone prohibitions in the Vehicle Code:

  • VC2123 (a) prohibits talking on a cellphone while driving, unless it is a hands-free device or a specific exception applies, such as a 911 call.
  • VC23123.5 (a) applies to texting while driving. “Texting” is broadly defined as viewing, or sending, any text-based message.
  • VC23124 makes it illegal for any driver under 18 to talk on any cellphone, whether or not it is hands-free. There is an emergency exception, but it basically only applies to 911 calls.

These violations cost $160 for a first infraction. And, since many insurance companies consider distracted driving a high-risk activity, many drivers see a substantial premium increase.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-859-1177 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-376-0214.