The New Year will bring some new laws to California, among them a change to the “texting while driving law” that closes a loophole that allowed teenage drivers to use voice texting behind the wheel.
Teens were previously prohibited from using cell phones at all while driving.
“Removing yourself from that social media has become increasingly difficult, especially for the young generation,” said Officer Daniel Hill of the California Highway Patrol. “We’re trying to bring them back with these laws to the very basic thing: When you’re behind the wheel of a car, you need to drive.”
Officer Hill says young drivers are most at risk for injury and deadly accidents on the roads.
“The vast majority think they’re good drivers,” he said.
But teenage drivers lack the experience to deal with unexpected hazards on the roads, in addition to driving distractions like talking and texting, even if it’s hands-free.
“This law went into effect because the number of collisions involving drivers 16 to 18 (years old) is incredibly disproportionate,” said Hill.
Two sisters from Danville agree, even hands-free talking or texting is distracting.
“Just being on your phone trying to get Siri to work, you have to glace down, and I don’t think that’s very safe,” said 16-year-old Erin Silliman.
Silliman’s mom chimed in, “Good answer!”
One driver Officer Hill pulled over on the Bay Bridge said Bluetooth is the way to go. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in his Bluetooth equipped car when he answered a call.
He didn’t want to give his name, but admitted to talking on his phone while driving.
“If you’re holding a phone, it’s distracting,” the driver said.