California’s New Cell Phone Law – What Drivers and Employers Need to Know

On July 1, 2008, law enforcement officials will start bringing up drivers for the usage of wi-fi mobile telephones that don’t perform “hands unfastened,” forcing many California drivers to emerge as familiar with new cellphone technology. Businesses, and specialized agencies that appoint young humans will need to adopt new policies for his or her personnel who pressure cars. Violating drivers will now not simplest be required to pay fines, however, can be held accountable to pay damages to humans injured in car accidents, regardless of real fault.

Governor Schwarzenegger signed the new “palms unfastened” mobile cellphone law in September of 2006. Its powerful date became behind schedule to July 1 of 2008 to present California drivers time to grow to be privy to the law and prepare for the exchange. Still, many Californians are expected to wait until the closing second before buying and mastering how to use “fingers loose” phone equipment. Similarly, many organizations might also delay adopting a business enterprise policy concerning this new protection regulation.

The Law

Sections 23123 and 23124 of the CALIFORNIA VEHICLE CODE limit drivers from using a wi-fi phone even as operating a motor automobile except the motive force uses a phone this is designed and configured to be “palms loose.” Drivers who violate the regulation will face a $20 nice for the first violation and a $50 first-rate for each time thereafter. Drivers are allowed to apply a wireless cellphone for emergency purposes. Drivers of sure commercial trucks and farm cars may use push-to-speak phones until July 1, 2011. Emergency reaction car drivers are exempt from this law. The law also forbids younger people under age 18 from using any cell tool (together with a pager or texting smartphone) at the same time as riding. California isn’t breaking new ground with this “arms free” cellular phone regulation. Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York have enacted comparable laws in response to the developing use of cellular phones in automobiles and accidents regarding drivers’ cell telephone distractions.

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Risks and Penalties

The new regulation does now not allow a peace officer to prevent a driving force underneath age 18 handiest to test if they’re the usage of a mobile device. However, a peace officer can also forestall an adult driver for no different motive than suspecting that the motive force may be violating the regulation – even though the motive force is otherwise driving correctly. This low threshold purpose is great due to the fact whilst a driving force is stopped, the peace officer speaks with the driver and may examine the driver, different humans, and objects inside the car. Whether considered right or awful, searches for other functions will be greater to be had to regulation enforcement if a driver is suspected of violating the new mobile phone law.

Drivers who violate the cellular cellphone law and are in a coincidence will be uncovered to an awful lot extra than a $20 great. If they’re in the process at the time of the coincidence, their organization can also be exposed. This is due to the long-installed prison precept of “negligence per se.” Lawyers use this precept as a shortcut to establish legal responsibility and win damages for injured men and women in accidents. “Negligence consistent with se” manner that if a motive force is illegally using a cellular telephone while a coincidence happens, even supposing in any other case driving well, she or he is much more likely to be discovered liable for the twist of fate. This is because the cellular phone regulation is a protection law designed to remove distractions and thereby save you injuries. Depending on the quantity of the accidents, this economic risk might be very big. If the referred to motive force has violated the cellular smartphone regulation earlier than, giant punitive damages might also apply. If the violating driver became at the task, their corporation can be held liable as properly. A wave of civil litigation is predicted to observe the new mobile phone regulation while it becomes effective on July 1.

What You Can Do.

Individuals: It might be smart to buy cell phones and/or devices so as to will let you observe the new cell telephone regulation now. “Hands loose” mobile smartphone technology has advanced considerably and entrepreneurial companies see the opportunity to help Californians to comply with this new regulation. Even with “consumer pleasant” cell phones and cell phone devices, getting acquainted with any new piece of the system takes some time earlier than it will become “2nd nature.” The new generation is straightforward to apply, but do not wait until July 1 to check it out. Give yourself a little time to make an amazing decision approximately what product to buy and to come to be familiar with how it works.

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Businesses: Because of the hazard to employers, corporations ought to adopt a coverage before July 1, 2008, that calls for strict compliance with the new “palms loose” cellular telephone law through all employees. For maximum employers, the nice policy could be to educate their employees now not to apply cellular telephones whilst using and to let incoming calls visit voicemail to be back out of doors of the automobile in a safe location. If your enterprise troubles cell telephones to its personnel, or necessarily calls for the use of a cellular telephone by way of its personnel, ensure that the cell phones can be used “arms unfastened.” Note that a cell smartphone that has a speaker smartphone characteristic handiest will no longer observe the law. Employers who hire personnel underneath age 18 must restrict their use of a mobile cellphone in an automobile. These instructions ought to be in writing and be mentioned by using every worker. Employers have to now not tolerate any departure from the agency coverage.