Are You Following California’s Updated Cell Phone Law?

April 21, 2017

ca cell phone law repairpal
Image Courtesy of Pexels

As of January 1st 2017, hands-free electronic devices are now required when driving in California. Although the said devices can still be used by drivers, new rules of the road will hopefully limit the distraction cell phones and other electronics have been known to cause. To ensure safety, devices will have to be mounted to the dash, center console, or other viable places not hindering the driver's visibility or impeding air bag deployment. After establishing your electronics in a safer location, hands-free technology must be employed to adhere to the law. This could range from voice activation and recording software to all-encompassing Bluetooth. The new law does not discriminate against different smartphone functions such as mapping or playing music.

This innovation is a patch for loopholes in previous cell phone laws which prohibited talking or texting, but did not address other uses such as photography, social media, or even playing phone games! Under the new law, all of these uses are now illegal and will allow law enforcement to stop and punish more offenders. However, the new rule does allow for activation of a phone feature with “a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.” The expansion of smartphone functionality has left drivers with more distractions than ever imaginable. From browsing and posting on social media such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, to receiving and sending pictures and videos on Snapchat, to looking up songs on Spotify or Soundcloud.

Although many citizens applaud law enforcement’s efforts to keep the road safe, there remains the question of the implementation of the new law. After all, it seems a little farfetched that police would be able to tell how many times you swipe or tap your phone while driving. Only time will tell if this law will be effective in reducing the number of distracted drivers on the road.

To help you abide by the new rules of the road, here are some helpful tips:

  • Prepare driving playlists so you won’t have to search for music while driving.
  • If purchasing a new car, check for Bluetooth and voice activation settings that will let you control your smartphone from the steering wheel or by simply speaking.
  • Purchase a dash holder so you won’t have to fumble around for your phone when trying to change a song or check directions. There are magnetic mounts available that rid the need of bulky, annoying phone cases.
  • If you absolutely NEED to send an important message or type in an address, simply pull over to the side of the road in a safe environment and do so while your vehicle is in park.

We at RepairPal care about your safety and encourage you to follow all the rules of the road.


RepairPal is working to mend the lack of trust consumers have in the car repair industry by providing them with in-depth knowledge and resources that connect them with dependable and reliable car repair shops near them.

Our goal is to establish an auto repair process that is less stressful and much more trustworthy for everyone involved. Our website hosts a car repair Estimator that gets rid of that "ripped-off" feeling. We also provide matches to local Certified shops that are guaranteed to do repairs with quality parts, a fair price, and a trained, awesome staff.

Have a question about RepairPal? Send us an email at

About the Author

John Stahel is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

No comments yet...

Sign in to comment