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A new driving law allows more phone use while driving.

Courtney Langstrom

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Smartphones have been ever developing and changing since the year 2000 and we’ve been glued to their tiny screens since. Thus cars with wireless capabilities became a need as we can’t go a second without knowing how your best friend Susan is doing.

So laws were needed to protect the driver and those affected by their use. But it feels a full banning of smartphone use seems contradicting. Why could you quickly press the volume button on your radio, but not cancel a route on your phone’s GPS.

And  there are many new features that were never covered, such as a simple tap of the phone to call a friend, or the ‘Hey Siri’ function on an IPhone which lets Siri help you when your phone is unlocked, or even fast voice to text messages. These functions don’t require you to look at your phone for too long, while allowing you to be connected. Thus the newest change in the California Driving Law.

Effective January 1, 2017, a driver of any automobile, motorcycle or car, are fully prohibited from driving “while holding and operating” any wireless handheld device, as defined by Vehicle Code 23123.5.

Even so, the law now states that a driver can use their phone as long as it is attached to a vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console by means of a mount. Think GPS. The code also states this may be the case as long as the mount is, “in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.”

The way you’re able to use the phone is still limited. To activate or deactivate, the feature or function must be “with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.” So no holding the phone at all while driving.

If caught with the phone in hand the driver could face a $20 fine, as well as a $50 dollar fine for each subsequent offense. Julia Clark, senior at Rocklin High School feels like this, “makes a lot of sense. My Dad just bought a mount, which I thought was a waste. Now that it’s required I’m glad I have one.”

Overall, for the seniors and juniors students able to drive you’ll need a mount in order to operate their phone’s GPS, music or Bluetooth function.

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