Texting While Driving

texting while driving

California Cellphone Use and Texting While Driving Laws

As of January 1, 2017, Californians are prohibited from holding their cell phones while they drive. Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1785 in September and the law prohibits holding a cell phone while driving for any purpose, including checking maps, texting, or talking.

Driving requires concentration to notice and react to obstacles. Distractions cause drivers to take their eyes off the road and remove their hands from the wheel. According to the new driving law in California cell phones must remain mounted to the dashboard and be set up for voice activation or hands-free use.

Texting + Driving = A Dangerous Combination

Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. Of these, 1.6 million involve a cell phone.

Why is Texting So Risky?

According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.

Texting involves multiple physical/mental actions, all of which take attention away from the road and driving hazards:

  • Visual – instead of watching the road ahead, your eyes are looking for a message
  • Manual – to operate various controls, your hand or hands must be taken off the wheel while the vehicle is in motion
  • Cognitive –your mind is no longer on your driving but on other devices and understanding the messages

Alternatives to texting while driving:

  • Voice Recognition – translates spoken words into text
  • Auto Responder – these send out a pre-written message to caller when you get instant messages or email messages
  • Text Blockers –it disables texting when the vehicle is going over 10 mph


The police have primary enforcement authority for a violation of the cell phone law—meaning, an officer can pull you over just for this infraction.

If you feel you were treated unfairly while being pulled over or were the victim of a car accident involving illegal cellphone use, a 1-800-THE-LAW2 attorney is ready to help.

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