Kit Steinkellner
December 31, 2016 10:22 am
Paramount Pictures

California drivers, we hope you already drive super safe. Come January 1st, 2017, a new law is going to crack down on driver cell phone use. So we sincerely hope you have a cell phone mount already in your car and are using it regularly. Because if not, you’re going to need to get your mitts on one stat.

Starting in 2017, the new law states that California drivers can’t have their cell phones in hand while driving.

It doesn’t matter if you’re “definitely NOT texting” but “just checking Waze.” Starting January 1st, if you’re fiddling with your phone, it will need to be secured to a windshield or dashboard mount… or else you could be facing a fine.

The law also limits legal usage “a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.” Which is really all you should need if you’re just checking your phone GPS to make sure you’re on course. Even with the phone mount, it will be illegal to engage in dangerous phone/driving behavior. So no texting while your phone is on that mount! (And no Facebook-checking either).

Yes, this law skews strict. But it kinda has to. Distracted driving is no joke. According to the CDC, each day in the United States, 8 people are killed and 1,161 people are injured in accidents that reportedly involved a distracted driver. Some quick math later, and we see that adds up to almost 3,000 deaths and over 420,000 injuries a year.

The CDC highlights primary distractions as “visual” (taking your eyes off the road), “manual” (taking your hands off the wheel), and “cognitive” (taking your mind off driving). If you’ve got your cell phone in your hand, you’re probably engaging in all three distractions.

So, yes, this new law is pretty strict. But with hope it will seriously cut down on distracted driving. So if you’re a driver in California and you don’t have a wall mount, run out and get one right this second. You have a day left. Clock’s ticking…

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