Tuesday, January 17, 2017

California Revamped Texting While Driving Laws In 2017

You may ask what texting while driving has to do with DUI.  In my 20 years of practicing drunk driving law I have seen a significant number of my clients stopped for sing a cell phone while driving which then leads to a full blown DWI investigation.  Therefore, here is the nuts and bolts of the new law:

California enacted new legislation in 2017 regarding texting and using a cell phone while driving. Vehicle Code § 23123.5 Is known as the law of Operation of Any Electronic Wireless Communications Device While Driving:

The “Texting While Driving” regulations have been deleted and replaced with the broader provisions, below:
(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 V.C. § 26708(b)(12) 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 V.C. § 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.