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Cell Phone Driving Laws by California State in 2024

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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California has some of the strictest cell phone usage laws in the nation, and this extends to Los Angeles as well.

Recent changes in the LA hands-free phone driving law have garnered attention from both drivers and authorities. As technology's role in our lives evolves, so do the enforcement and interpretation of these regulations.

As a legal attorney with years of experience handling car accident cases, this article will discuss the latest updates regarding LA's hands-free phone driving law. I will also provide essential information on how understanding these laws can help strengthen your case.

Quick Summary

  • California's hands-free phone driving law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones while driving.
  • Increased enforcement measures are implemented to reduce distracted driving crashes and encourage driver compliance.
  • Victims of injury should seek legal advice for compensation for damages caused by a distracted driver.

What Is the Latest LA Hands-Free Phone Driving Law?

A woman speaking to the phone while driving

The latest LA hands-free phone driving law is now forbidding the use of handheld cell phones while driving unless the device is dashboard-mounted or in voice activation mode [1]. 

This change was due to the alarming statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety, which revealed that 74.2% of all vehicle collisions in the state are due to driver negligence related to cell phone use, with talking or texting on a cell phone being the most prevalent form of distraction [2].

Strengthened Enforcement Measures

The revised hands-free phone driving law in LA brings more robust enforcement measures for ensuring driver compliance.

Here are the key points:

  • All drivers are restricted from calling and texting using handheld cell phones.
  • The only exception is when the phone is being used in a voice-operated, hands-free mode by a driver over the age of 18.
  • Holding a cell phone while driving is strictly prohibited.
  • Police officers can issue citations to distracted drivers.

Impact on Road Safety

A man holding the steering wheel both handsThe effectiveness of LA's hands-free law on road safety is still under evaluation, but it's anticipated to bring down distracted driving incidents.

Studies have shown that texting bans can reduce hospitalizations by 7%.

By prohibiting handheld devices while driving and encouraging the use of hands-free devices, the law aims to decrease distractions and enhance overall road safety.

In addition to the hands-free law, other initiatives, such as public awareness campaigns and increased police patrols, are being implemented to combat distracted driving further.

Together, these measures, including the enforcement of distracted driving laws, should contribute to a safer driving environment for all road users.

What Is the Cell Phone Law in California 2024?

A woman having a call while drivingThe California cell phone law in 2024 is a law that prohibits drivers from using handheld phones behind the wheel and police have primary enforcement authority.

This law applies to anyone operating a motor vehicle within California, regardless of their residency status. 

Police officers can pull drivers over if they observe a violation or have reasonable suspicion of a violation without any other justification required.

Enforcing California's distracted driving law is key to reducing collisions and fatalities due to driver negligence.

By understanding and complying with the law, drivers can contribute to a safer driving environment for themselves and others on the road.

Cell Phone Restrictions

In California, drivers are prohibited from engaging in handheld cell phone use or using any other wireless telecommunications device while operating a motor vehicle, and they must use a cell phone in a hands-free manner [3].

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Drivers over 18 can use hands-free phone mode and text via voice-to-text, while those under 18 are prohibited from using any phone except in the case of an emergency call.

Texting and Driving Bans

A man texting while driving

California's texting and driving bans are in place to further reduce the risks associated with distracted driving.

Here are the key regulations:

  • Drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use their cell phones for any purpose while operating a motor vehicle.
  • All drivers can not be texting and driving.
  • The only exception to this ban is for individuals aged 18 and above who are using a hands-free device.

Using a mobile phone for activities like texting and driving, web browsing, or engaging in social media is likewise forbidden according to California's cell phone law in 2024. These bans aim to decrease distracted driving incidents, helping drivers maintain focus on the road and the act of driving.

"A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving."
- California Cell Phone Law

Penalties and Consequences of Violating Hands-Free Laws

Fines and feesViolating hands-free laws in California can result in different penalties and consequences, including fines and fees, and a potential impact on driver's licenses.

These penalties act as a deterrent to drivers, underscoring the need for adherence to hands-free laws.

By adhering to these laws, drivers not only avoid fines and other consequences but also contribute to a safer driving environment for all.

Fines and Fees

The fines for handheld phone use violations in California can be quite significant, especially for repeat offenders.

Here are the fines for different offenses:

  • First offense: $20
  • Subsequent offenses: $50
  • Texting or cell phone violations (first offense): $162
  • Texting or cell phone violations (subsequent offenses): increasing fines
  • Commercial vehicle drivers using a handheld phone: fines up to $2,750 for the driver and $11,000 for employers.

These fines act as a significant disincentive for drivers, discouraging illegal cell phone use while driving.

By understanding and adhering to the hands-free law, drivers can avoid these fines and help promote safer roads in California.

Impact on Driver's License

A woman in a car showing thumbs downNo points are assigned to a driver's license for a single cell phone ticket in California. However, multiple violations can result in a license suspension.

Failing to adhere to the hands-free law in California can result in penalties such as fines, administrative fees, and points on the driver's record.

Accumulating an excessive amount of points can lead to license suspension or revocation.

By understanding the potential impact on their driver's license, drivers have an added incentive to comply with the hands-free law.

This, in turn, promotes a safer driving environment and helps reduce the number of collisions caused by distracted driving.

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FAQs

Is It Illegal To Use Your Handheld Device While Driving In Los Angeles?

Yes, it is illegal to use your handheld device while driving in Los Angeles. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as emergency phone calls and using your hands-free cell phone in hands-free mode.

What Is The Code 23123.5 In California?

The code 23123.5 in California is a penal code that deals with using mobile phones while driving. It prohibits holding a phone while driving, except when it's mounted on the vehicle's dashboard or used in a hands-free manner.

Is California Hands-Free Driving?

California is a hands-free driving state, requiring drivers to use hands-free devices or voice-operated modes when using their phones while driving.

Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation

If you or a loved one have been involved in a distracted driving accident, understanding your legal rights and options is important.

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP our experienced accident attorneys can provide valuable insight into your case, as well as guidance on how to collect evidence and build a strong claim against the at-fault driver.

Don't hesitate to reach out to a legal professional for assistance, as they can offer the support and expertise necessary to help you receive the compensation you deserve.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4001674/
  2. https://www.ots.ca.gov/grants/distracted-driving/
  3. https://www.ots.ca.gov/media-and-research/campaigns/distracted-driving-april/#:~:text=In%20California%2C%20you%20cannot%20use,cell%20phone%20for%20any%20reason.