criminal law

California No Texting Law

On January 1, California prohibited persons from texting while driving. This new law, found in California Vehicle Code Section 23123.5, covers activities beyond text messaging. Specifically, the section states

A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication.

The code further states that this prohibition applies to text messages, instant messages and electronic mails. Now, for the strange part. The code specifically excludes “read[ing], select[ing] or enter[ing] a telephone number or name … for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call.” So, some form of text input is apparently safe, but not others.

The real quirk is the focus on text-based communication. Video conferencing? Gaming? Entering text into an electronic diary? Maintaining a to-do list? Not prohibited by this law.

5 replies on “California No Texting Law”

It’s good to have implemented this law. Driver’s distraction is one of the common causes of car accidents. Using cell phone in any way while driving is certainly a distraction.

I think the addition was left out inadvertently from the July 2008 call regulation; and it needed to be put it. However, one clearly does need to dial a phone number; even to activate bluetooth (unless all phones are standard with voice dialing; and there’s no mandatory fee for such use).

However, my comment was to address the original message; whereas, “So, some form of text input is apparently safe, but not others.” The state of CA is not stating which portion (if any) of dialing; nor any time to dial; or place; is safe… rather that it is “permitted” and not a violation of the statute. To imply the state left it out to mean that dialing is evaluated to be safe is a misconception that will lead to overconfidence, injury, or legal trouble.

I am glad they did this but I think it should have been more harsh!

My uncle got killed by a girl texting and driving! No drugs or alcohol just a stupid 20 something with eyes on the phone not the road!

Really shows how that generation can’t just wait or pull over to get a message like LOL IDK BLAH BLAH>

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