Keep your hands off your cell phone while you’re in your car on Thursday or be prepared to dig deep in your pocket for some cash to pay for a ticket.
Deputies from the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station will be on the lookout from 4 p.m. to midnight tomorrow for drivers making handheld phone calls or texting while driving. You also can get ticketed for throwing trash out your car window. Or driving without headlights or making an illegal turn or not stopping for a pedestrian in a crosswalk or for jaywalking.
California has several laws banning the use of cellphones while driving. One law prohibits drivers from using handheld wireless phones or cellphones and another bars drivers under 18 years old from using even hands-free cellphones. A third law bans texting and other use of wireless device while driving.
The penalty can be pricey. The fine for a first offense is $20. For subsequent offenses, the fine is $50. But the State of California levies multiple assessments on traffic fines (to pay for repairing courthouses, for example). That means the total for a first violation could exceed $150, and subsequent violation can cost over $250.
There are legal limits to talking to your bff without having your hand on the phone. Under state law, drivers 18 and older can use a hands-free phone while driving, but the earpiece cannot cover both ears. A better option is to use the speakerphone function.
If you’re under 18, you cannot use a wireless telephone, pager, or any other device (handheld or hands-free) to speak or text while driving. Unless, of course, it’s to make an emergency call to the police.
On Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies will engage in a bicycle and pedestrian safety operation. So if you’re in a car, keep your eye out for bikes and pedestrians. And if you’re walking or riding a bike, make sure you follow the law.