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Is your phone mounted in your car? If not, you may get a ticket starting in 2017.

On Jan. 1, California's texting-while-driving law is going to change in some very significant ways. For instance, while state law already bans texting while driving - with an exception for voice-operated, hand-free phones - under the language of a new state law, drivers will be completely prohibited from using their mobile phones for any purpose unless the phone is being used hands-free.

The idea behind this legislation - otherwise known as Assembly Bill 1785 - is to stop drivers from engaging in a wide range of distracting activities, such as taking photos and recording or streaming videos, in addition to texting and calling. This means you also cannot use your mapping/navigation system, check your social media sites, look at traffic reports, scroll through your music or operate your phone in any way, unless you meet the following criteria:

  • Your phone is mounted to your windshield, dashboard or center console, and does not hinder your view of the road
  • You use your phone in a voice-operated, hands-free manner
  • You only need a single swipe or tap of your finger to activate your phone/feature/function

If you violate this law, the fine is $20 for the first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense.

While it remains to be seen whether this new law will have any significant impact on the driving habits of California motorists, once thing is clear: drivers continue to use their phones at while behind the wheel, despite laws designed to prevent it. If you or a loved one has been injured by one of these careless drivers, you deserve justice. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to learn what legal options may be available to you and your family.

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