Cell phone use while driving has become one of the most common traffic violations in this digital age.
“Each year, approximately 3,000 people lose their lives to car accidents resulting from distracted drivers. This accounts for between 8% and 9% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions on roads across the United States. Approximately 100 of those fatalities are Californians.—Forbes Advisor.
CA traffic laws have been amended to keep up with these changes in technology in an attempt to keep our roads safer. The state created AB-47, Distracted Driving, with the intent to curtail distracted driving and promote road safety.
If you've recently been ticketed for cell phone use while driving, securing representation from a traffic attorney has never been more crucial. In this blog, we will show why.
Hands-Free Cell Phone Use Is Legal for Most Californians
It's essential to understand that not all cell phone use while driving is illegal in California.
A driver can use a hands-free cell phone system built into their vehicle or a mount for their phone close enough to the driver to make it easily accessible with just a single swipe.
It simplifies tasks like answering a call or changing a song without diverting attention from the road. However, physically holding a cell phone, even during stationary moments like a red light or in a traffic jam, is considered illegal cell phone use. A $20 cell phone mount can save drivers from potential legal troubles, and something every driver should consider.
Furthermore, while most adult Californians can legally use integrated cell phone systems, teen drivers under 18 are not allowed this privilege. They cannot use any cell phone system while driving, even if it’s built into the car. That said, law enforcement can't pull over young drivers solely on suspicion of built-in cell phone use in CA.
AB-47 Authorizes the DMV to Assess a NOTS Point for a 2nd Cell Phone Use Conviction
As of 1 July 2021, the enactment of AB-47, Distracted Driving, changed how CA dealt with repeat offenders of the traffic code as it applies to distracted driving. It amends CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23123.5, Driving Offenses, to permit the DMV to assess one negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) point against drivers for a second conviction or paid fine related to illegal cell phone use.
The financial implications are stark. In 2023, the average Californian will pay around $2,290 annually for auto insurance, according to Bankrate.com. A second cell phone use conviction, which leads to a NOTS point on a driver’s motor vehicle driving record (MVR), will raise their already high premium. Once an insurance provider discovers this conviction—usually during policy renewal—they will rescind your “good driver's discount.”
This discount, which typically cuts your premium by 20%, will be replaced with the added risk cost associated with cell phone use. So, for the minor infraction of an illegal cell phone use conviction, you will pay roughly 32% more for your insurance. That will equate to an increase of $732.80 annually for most drivers.
Engaging a Traffic Attorney: Your Best Bet Against Cell Phone Use Tickets
Since AB-47, the value of hiring a seasoned traffic attorney to dispute a cell phone use ticket is clear.
We at the traffic ticket firm of Bigger & Harman can assist in navigating the complicated traffic court system. The stakes are high—you should choose a path to maintain your clean driving record. It will save you money in the long run.
Contact Bigger & Harman About an Illegal Cell Phone Use Ticket in Kings County
When you need assistance with a cell phone use ticket in Hanford Courthouse in Kings County, contact the Central Valley Traffic Defense Team of Bigger & Harman, APC. Give us a call at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Bankrate.com article, Average cost of car insurance in CA for 2023.
CVC Section 23123.5, Driving Offenses
AB-47, Distracted Driving