We know that hand-held use of a cell phone while driving is illegal. This includes making calls, texting, surfing the internet, and dialing up your favorite tunes. Now under Assembly Bill 1785 that went into effect at the start of 2017, you can get a ticket and a lofty fine just for holding a mobile device while driving.

If that sounds like ‘they’ have gone too far this time, consider these simple facts:

  • When you take your eyes off the road to use your mobile device for just a few seconds while driving 55 mph, it’s like driving blindfolded across the length of a football field.
  • 80 percent of vehicle crashes and 3,000 deaths nationwide involve distracted driving.

These statistics prompted the creation of laws to reduce distracted driving. However, smartphones with apps like Snapchat, Facebook, Pandora, Spotify, and even GPS made them difficult to enforce.

Hands free now means your hands are free to grip the wheel—and that’s all!

The new law was designed to make getting behind the wheel safer. It closes a loophole in California’s hands-free cellphone laws. Previously, the law banned only talking and texting while driving, but other uses of a smartphone were still legal.

Now, you can only use your mobile device if you do it hands-free using voice activation or through a system embedded in your vehicle.

If you operate your device using your hand, you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • You can only use your cellphone if it’s mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or console.
  • With the phone mounted, you can only touch the phone once to activate or deactivate it with a single swipe or tap of your finger.

This new law should make it easier for officers to stop and cite drivers for illegal phone use.

The above evaluations and/or recommendations are for general guidance only and should not be relied upon for legal compliance purposes. They are based solely on the information provided to us and relate only to those conditions specifically discussed. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, that your workplace is safe or healthful or that it complies with all laws, regulations or standards.