On January 1, 2017 a new law regarding the use of cell phones goes into effect, all with hope it will reduce vehicular accidents. Before its enactment, the law only proscribed handheld cellphone calls or handheld texting. The new law makes all handheld use of a cellphone while operating a vehicle illegal. No more handheld cellphone selfies, and no more handheld GPS searches.
Vehicle Code, §23123.5(a) is changed from “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication … .” to “(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device … .”
A handheld phone may be operated by use of the driver’s hand while driving ONLY if 1) the handheld phone is mounted on the vehicle’s windshield, dashboard, or center console, and 2) the driver’s hand is used only for a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
The fine for the initial violation is $20.00, while the fine goes up to $50.00 for every subsequent violation.