The Rulz: Texting while driving in CA is illegal as of Jan 1

I know it’s a safety thing, but I hate the fact it’s going to be against the law to text while driving in California starting tomorrow. Safety rules, but my guilty pleasure during traffic jams is to read and twitter, both of which are about to become illegal.

There’s a super-detailed article in the LA Times that lays out the law(and links to the PDF of VC 23123.5 (b)–but the short version is you can’t text, browse the web on your phone (!), or do any email or messaging of any type.  At all times, you have to be in full control of your vehicle, which means keeping your nose out of that screen. (Susan sez: Using your GPS does not count–and there are no laws about doing any of this on your bike.)

Can you park your (still running) car and text/browse/post? Yep.
And if you’re parked and the engine is off, these new laws do not apply.

Fines? Similar to making calls without a hands-free device while driving- first violation, $20; subsequent
violations, $50–plus  local
court costs and program fees. Not exactly pretty (I am already imagining the stake-outs on Palo Alto streets; the cops there are expert at catching and extracting fines from drivers who break the rules.

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  1. 2thyme says:

    I use the (hands-free) voice-to-SMS service over at Jott.  It has interfaces to twitter, RTM, and others.  I liked it better before they started charging.  But its still a good solution.

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