Texting while driving – now illegal in California

Interesting | January 2nd, 2009 by 7
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Following other U.S states, as of January 1st 2009, California has a new law regarding texting while driving, or using your phone for other functions. …

Following other U.S states, as of January 1st 2009, California has a new law regarding texting while driving, or using your phone for other functions. The fellows at L.A Times have answered some questions that many drivers might have. Similar to the other states, it’s illegal to text while driving and browsing the Web even when sitting at a red light.

But here is the tricky part and the first loophole: it is NOT illegal to type directions into a GPS unit OR into a GPS program on your PHONE. Now the questions is how could a law enforcement officer determine what the driver was doing on his/her phone……I already foresee a lot of court dates.

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Q: Is it illegal to send an e-mail from your mobile device while driving?
A: Yes. Please refer to VC 23123.5 (b) (PDF download). As used in this section “write, send, or read a text-based communication” means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message or electronic mail.


Q: Is it illegal to browse the Web while driving?
A: Yes. Refer to VC 27602 (a). A person may not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle. 

Q: If you are texting a company or website, such as MLB.com, as opposed to a person, is it still illegal to text while driving?
A: Technically speaking … if the text-based communication is not going to another “person” you’re not in violation. The new law addresses two-way communication. However, we don’t encourage or condone any activity that could place you in jeopardy or harm’s way. If sending this message causes the driver to become distracted, and affects the safe operation of the vehicle, an officer can pull the driver over and cite for unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, etc.


Q: What if you have already composed the text messages but you just need to press send? 
A: Yes, it is still illegal to “send” the text regardless of when it was composed. So send it before you head out in your vehicle.


Please read the rest of the article, it will answer most of your questions.

7 responses to “Texting while driving – now illegal in California”

  1. The Lee says:

    Good. That’s one of the few “crazy” California laws that I would love to see enacted in Texas.

  2. Mauro Corti says:

    Happy not to live where this law is effective :)

  3. Doug says:

    And yet, changing your pants while driving is still legal.

    Why don’t they have one general law and add specific examples to it rather than all these seperate THOU SHALT NOT DRIVE WHILE EATING PEAS WITH CHOPSTICKS type laws? They can give it an umbrella name like “Driver Distraction Law”.

  4. Horatiu B. says:

    @Doug: :) good point. I really disagree with the inputting GPS entries, I mean….isn’t that distracting?

  5. The Lee says:

    There’s a lot of distracting activities while you’re driving; years of motorcycling on public roads have shown me just how true this is. I’ve nearly been run over by people doing most every distracting activity you can think of (except eating peas with chopsticks).

    You’re driving a 3000+ lb machine at sometimes highway speeds; your attention should be focused on just that and that alone. Sending a text message, reading the paper, calling your girlfriend to tell her about the shoes you just bought on sale, applying makeup, eating that taco you just picked up from Burrito King, digging for change, picking your ass, getting road head from your wife, etc can wait until you either arrive or pull over at a gas station.

  6. Doug says:

    @The Lee:
    Lee, please leave tacos out of this. They’re not to blame here.

  7. gino says:

    I think this should have taken effect ages ago.. Texting and driving is just a bad idea. It only takes one instant for you to look down and not notice something before someone gets hurt or your insurance takes a hit.

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