Is it Legal to Text at a Stoplight in California and Other Texting Questions

California has had specific laws regarding texting and driving since 2009. While some of these laws are simple to understand, some people feel that others are complex. For example, though it is illegal to text while driving, what does the law say about texting while at a stoplight? Read on to get the answers and then reach out to The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 if you need a legal consultation due to an injury caused in a car accident.

Can you text at a red light?

The Wireless Communications Device Law, which has been in effect in California since 2009, states clearly that it is illegal to write, read, or send text messages while behind the wheel of a vehicle. The Handheld Wireless Telephone Laws, which have been in effect since 2008, make it clear that no driver can use a wireless phone while driving unless they are calling for emergency services. Drivers are allowed to use “hands-free devices,” but there is a stipulation on that: The driver must be at least 18 years old to use it.

If a person breaks this law and is caught, then they could be facing a significant fine. The first offense is just $20 but further offenses are at least $50. Once penalty assessments are added, a person can pay three times the base amount of the fine. When considering the financial aspects of these laws, it is clear that texting while driving does not pay.

Can you use Bluetooth or a similar earpiece?

Yes, in the state of California you are able to legally use Bluetooth or similar earpieces. However, you are not allowed to have both ears covered. This is to ensure that you can still hear any type of emergency vehicles around you.

Are these laws necessary?

Many wonder if this law is necessary. After all, is it that serious if a person uses a cell phone while driving? Consider that there are hundreds of fatal car accidents every year. In fact, more than one in four car accidents include at least one person using their cell phone. That includes hands-free devices. This should show you that not only are these laws necessary, but that hands-free devices can be dangerous too.

Are there exceptions for push to talk applications?

There are not. It is true that the law initially did include an exception for commercial truck or truck tractor drivers, those driving farm vehicles, and those using tow trucks to use a two-way, push to talk feature. That feature expired in the middle of 2011 and now the only way you can legally use a push to talk feature in a vehicle is if there is a hands-free ear piece of other type of hands-free device in use.

If you have been injured in a car accident then you should consider your options for legal representation. You can reach out to The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation.