For vacationing families visiting Disneyland and other California theme parks, tickets are expensive enough. But as of July 1, there’s an additional ticket you don’t want to get, one that could cost $100 and up for driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone.
The new California lawstates any driver over 18 “must use a hands-free device when using their cell phone while driving. And there is no grace period for violators.”
Anyone seen driving while holding a cell phone to their ear will be subject to base fines of $20 for the first ticket and $50 for subsequent tickets, plus additional fees that will more than triple the fine.
Here’s the full text of the law.
And don’t even think about letting your child use one. Drivers under 18 will be prohibited from using a cell phone behind the wheel, period. This includes text messaging.
There is no exemption for out-of-state drivers.
No state bans cell phones in cars completely, although Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Washington state and the US Virgin Islands have laws similar to California’s. Seventeen states have laws restricting novice drivers; 15 restrict school bus drivers. (Makes you wonder about the other 35, as if those drivers don’t have enough distraction!) And some cities, such as Phoenix have their own laws.
So when you head to the Golden State this summer, don’t just pack your sunscreen, pack your Bluetooth.