Texting Laws in California

Research shows that driver distraction or lack of attention plays a role in 25% of all vehicle accidents, but whether use of a cell phone or the actual act of engaging in conversation is the real culprit is still being hotly debated.

Regardless of the debate, however, California has created four laws specifically related to cell phone use in vehicles. Keep reading for the exceptions to these laws.

The first and second of these driving laws ban the use of handheld phones while driving. Pretty self-explanatory.

The third law makes it illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use handheld phones while driving and also prevents them from using hands-free gadgets, like Bluetooth technology or any type of headset.

The fourth driving law prohibits all drivers in California from texting while driving a vehicle.

You can be pulled over for violating any of these driving laws, as these are considered primary offenses.

You might still be asking when you can actually (legally) use your phone in the car. We know it’s tempting to answer that text in bumper-to-bumper traffic or even change up the playlist, but California is becoming increasingly tough on offenders.

You may use a cell phone in your vehicle if and only if:

  1. You are doing so on your own, private property
  2. You are placing a call to emergency services such as police, fire, or medical services
  3. You are the driver of an authorized emergency services vehicle

It’s rare that anyone would be in either of these situations, but keep that in mind every time you pick up the phone at a red light. You are simply in violation of the law, and, ultimately, a risk to drivers around you.