New California cell phone laws in 2017

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON)–As the year comes to a close, Californian’s can look forward to several new laws kicking in January 1st. Among them are tougher restrictions on using electronic devices while driving.

Back in September, Governor Brown signed into law new requirements that drivers to keep electronic devices, including smartphones hands-free.

KRON4’s Charles Clifford reports in San Francisco with details.

Starting January 1st, it will be illegal to hold and operate electronic devices, including smart phones, while driving. Such devices can still be used by drivers, but there are new restrictions.

First, the device must be mounted on the dash, the center console or in one of the lower corners of the windshield. it cannot be placed anywhere that impairs a drivers view or blocks the possible deployment of airbags.

Second, drivers must use hands free technology, such as voice command or Bluetooth. If they have to touch a screen, the new law only allows for “the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.”

Only drivers 18 or older can use hands-free devices; drivers under 18 cannot. It’s also still illegal for drivers to send text messages.

Law enforcement can pull drivers over for violating any of these new rules. The base fine for a first violation is $20 and $50 for any subsequent violations.

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