A Minnesota driver was pulled over for drinking a cup of coffee while driving. Could the same thing happen in Bakersfield or Fresno?
The Gopher State has a very broad distracted driving law which prohibits any conduct that takes the operator’s attention away from driving, and drinking a beverage certainly qualifies as such. Lindsey Krieger, who said she was “dumfounded” by the stop, was also cited for failure to wear a seat belt. She claimed that she removed the seat belt after she was pulled over.
Ms. Krieger said she intended to fight the citation in court.
Governor Brown vetoed two attempts to toughen the state’s primary distracted driving law in both 2011 and 2012, but the rejections probably had little to do with the laws themselves.
The distracted driving laws in California are basically limited to cellphone use. The main provisions in the Vehicle Code are:
- VC 23123, which prohibits talking on cellphones that are not configured for hands-free use and being employed in that fashion,
- VC 23123.5, which prohibits texting and driving, and
- VC 23124, which prohibits drivers under 18 from using a cellphone at all, even if configured for hands-free use.
Not too long ago, a Fresno court ruled that drivers can use apps and browse the Web without violating VC 23123.5, as that law only applies to sending and receiving text-based communications.
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