How To Get Your Car Ready For California’s New Hands-Free Law

By Kyle Buis

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California is expanding its crackdown on distracted driving with a new law aimed at keeping phones out of drivers’ hands.

Assembly Bill 1785 now limits drivers to only using devices in hands-free mode, or using them attached to the windshield or dashboard and that’s limited to actions requiring a single swipe or tap.

Drivers looking for a way to mount their devices have a few options.

  • Windshield mounting: AB1785 puts the same limits on phones that are on portable GPS systems:
    • (12) A portable Global Positioning System (GPS), which may be mounted in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver and outside of an airbag deployment zone, if the system is used only for door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated.

    • There are many options, just remember, if you’re going to mount it, it needs to be in the lower-left corner of your windshield.
  • Vent magnet: Suction cups tend to not do too well on hot Sacramento windshields. A longer-term solution may be mounting your device with one of many magnets on the market.
    • Most of them work with a simple clip that slips onto your car’s air vents like this one.
    • magnet How To Get Your Car Ready For Californias New Hands Free Law
    • The kits come with thin magnetic plates that slide into your phone case.
    • magnet 2 e1474991727523 How To Get Your Car Ready For Californias New Hands Free Law
    • The magnetic mounts typically go for under $10 on Amazon.

If you want to review the changes yourself, here’s how the changes shake out:

OLD LAW

23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving.
(b) As used in this section “write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail.
(c) For purposes of this section, a person shall not be deemed to be writing, reading, or sending a text-based communication if the person reads, selects, or enters a telephone number or name in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call or if a person otherwise activates or deactivates a feature or function on an electronic wireless communications device.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.

NEW LAW (changes in bold)

23123.5. (a) 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.
(b) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.
(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.

Comments

One Comment

  1. The new police street cameras (POD’s) around the arena could be used to catch cell phone users.
    Also, in Austin, TX, police are riding around in a bus, so they can **easily look down** and catch cell phone users.

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