Picture it: You're cruising down Highway One, windows down, with Spotify playing your favorite jams. Life is good, hell — it's never been better. And then: Bam! Some awful track comes on and you knew you should never have shared your account with your little sister. So, not wanting to kill your vibe, you pick up the phone resting in the cup-holder and skip to the next song. As CBS 5 reports, under a new California law signed by Governor Jerry Brown, you just broke the law.
The measure, AB1785, expands the breadth of the so-called statewide "hands-free" law governing use of phones in motor vehicles. We all know that the measure in its old form prohibited texting while driving and required hands-free devices for drivers making phone calls. Officials, it seems, felt like the law was behind the times and updated it in order to be perhaps a bit more relevant in our smartphone-obsessed age.
So, starting January 1, it will be illegal to use your phone to change songs, check maps, take pictures, or stream video while you drive. However, there is one important proviso — if your phone is mounted to your windshield or dashboard you can still do all of these things.
Well, sort of. In order for a driver's hands-on use of a mounted phone to be legal, the bill says the action has to be completed "with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger." So no pinching or stretching that map out!
How a CHP officer will determine whether your gesture was a single swipe or in fact a double tap is unclear, although we imagine traffic lawyers will enjoy arguing the point.