New Law Changes How You Can Use Your Phone While Behind the Wheel

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If you use your phone for directions when you drive, you may have to readjust your habits. A new law changes how you can use your phone while behind the wheel.

Most people know there already was a law prohibiting using your cell phone while driving, but it was written 10 years ago, and the technology has changed.

"If it is in your hand and your vehicle is moving, you are in violation of the code," said Officer Nathan Asby, with the California Highway Patrol.

Asby said officers across California will now be on the lookout for any phones they see in drivers' hands, issuing $20 tickets for first time violators and $50 for second offenders.

"The draw to have them close to us, especially while we're driving, and to answer that phone or answer the text or reply to a message, it's become ingrained in our minds," Asby said.

Assemblyman Bill Quirk from Hayward authored the bill, which he says closes a big loophole with the old law, written when cell phones were less sophisticated.

"People could say 'oh, I wasn't texting, I was just entering something in my Google map,'" Quirk told FOX40.

Now the law states drivers can only use one touch or one swipe technology such as Apple's Siri.

Suction cups for phones can no longer be on the center of the windshield. They must be in the lower left driver side of the window, lower right passenger side window or down below the windshield. Asby said all the changes will make it easier to enforce the hands-free law, and he believes it will save lives.

"Really what we want to do is get that divided attention, the cell phone out of people's hands and get their eyes back on the road. Because that's really the most important thing," Asby said.

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