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Complying With The New Cell Phone Law

Christmas may be over for now, but cell phone-using drivers in Lamont and Shafter are firmly on the naughty list, thanks to an expanded cell phone law.

The old cell phone laws, VC 23123 and VC 23123.5, only applied to talking and texting while driving. They took effect in 2007, and at that time, phones had little functionality beyond talking and texting, and lawmakers tailored the law narrowly to avoid judicial scrutiny. But now, cell phones are really hand-held computers, so the law is a little out of date. In fact, a California appeals court recently ruled that the existing laws did not apply to anything other than talking and texting.

The New Law

Now, the “hold and use” law makes it illegal to use a cell phone for almost any reason while driving. There are a couple of exceptions:

· It’s okay to synch your phone into a built-in hands-free infotainment center,

· The phone can be mounted in a way that doesn’t conflict with existing law (more on that below), and

· A driver can swipe or tap the screen, presumably to cancel an alert.

The fines stay the same: $157 ($20 fine plus penalty assessments) for a first offense and $274 ($50 fine plus penalty assessments) for a subsequent offense.

Mounting a Phone

Under VC 26708 ($190 fine), it’s illegal to mount any device that obstructs the driver’s view through the windshield or side windows. Many people think that mounting their phones at just below eye level helps them watch the road while they use their phones. That may or may not be true, and it’s illegal in California.

A rather obscure provision in this law exempts GPS locators if they are mounted in the “lowest corner of the windshield,” are not in the “airbag deployment zone,” and are only used for “door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated.”

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.

Expect CHP officers in Lamont and Shafter to ring in the New Year by aggressively enforcing the new cell phone law. To fight back, call Bigger & Harman.
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