As in all other states, legislators in the state of California take traffic safety very seriously, and they are trying to reduce the number of car accidents by enforcing various laws that are supposed to deter drivers from speeding, running a red light, driving under the influence, or using cell phones while driving, which are some of the most common traffic violations in the U.S. Talking on a cell phone while driving is the most common cause of distracted driving, and most states have specific laws banning it. Distracted driving laws in the state of California have existed since 2006, when the first cell phone legislation was introduced.
Currently, there is a law in effect that prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using any type of wireless communications device while driving. This ban is an addition to the provisions that are already in existence, which prohibit teen drivers from using cell phones.
Sending text messages while driving is a huge distraction, but a lot of people don't realize that and still do it. It's a potentially dangerous activity because it requires you to take at least one hand off the steering wheel to type and send a message, and you can lose control of your vehicle pretty quickly that way. That's why the state of California has banned all drivers from texting, and this ban is considered a primary law. Furthermore, drivers are also prohibited from hands-free text messaging, as well as voice-operated text messaging. The text messaging fine is $20 for a first offense, and $50 for a repeat offense.
Using a smartphone while driving for navigational purposes is also not allowed. Drivers can't use a GPS application while holding a smartphone in their hands, which used to be allowed until April 2013.
Drivers aged 18 and above can only use a cell phone with an attached hands-free device. There is a hand-held ban for both adult and teen drivers, which is considered a primary law.
School bus drivers are prohibited from using cell phones while driving, be it hands-free or hand-held. They have a special responsibility due to the fact that they transport children to school and that's why they are not allowed to use a cell phone with a hands-free device, which other drivers are allowed to do.