cell phone and driving

In less than a month, you could get fined for holding your phone (or other electronic devices) while driving.

The new law “prohibits a person from physically holding or supporting, with any part of the person’s body, a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.”

However, a person 18 years of age or older CAN use an earpiece, headphone device or device worn on a wrist to conduct a voice-based communication. Your phone can be mounted to a windshield, dashboard or center console as long as it doesn’t hinder the driver’s view of the road. Under this new law, it is also okay if a driver needs to use their hand to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the phone as long as it only requires one swipe or one tap and does not activate the camera, video, gaming features or other non-navigational functions.

The bill signed by the Governor in late May is an expansion of a bill that is already in effect which bans talking on handheld devices while driving in a school zone. This new bill would mean it is an offense to talk on a handheld device on any road, highway or street.

Violators face up to a $100 fine. That amount could go up to $200 if the violation results in an accident.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cellphones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In those states, the distracted driving fatality rate was 44% lower than in states with no legislation or partial bans on using handheld devices while driving, reports automotive-fleet.com.