The California Highway Patrol is reminding motorists of new traffic laws pertaining to cell phone use, driving under the influence and child safety that took effect New Year;s Day..
Drivers are no longer permitted to hold a cell phone or other wireless communications device. Rather than holding the device while driving, you're now required to mount it in the 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield furthest from you or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner closest to you, according to the CHP. Another option is to affix your phone to the dashboard in a place that does not interfere with airbag deployment or obstruct your view.
The law does allow a driver to operate one of these devices with a single swipe or tap of the finger, but not while holding it, according to the CHP.
Another law now in effect extends a DUI pilot program currently underway in Alameda County and other parts of the state. It requires a DUI offender to install an ignition interlock device on their car for a specified period of time in order to get a restricted or reinstated driver's license. It also removes the required suspension time before a person can get a restricted license, provided that the offender installs the device on their car.
The law extends the DUI ignition interlock device pilot program currently taking place in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare counties until Jan. 1, 2019, at which point all DUI offenders statewide will be required to install the device to have their license reinstated.
Laws pertaining to child safety on the roads also are now effect.
Every school will now be required to have a transportation safety plan with procedures to ensure that a student is not left unattended in a vehicle, according to the CHP. And children under 2 years old will now have to ride rear-facing in an appropriate child passenger safety seat, with those weighing 40 or more pounds or standing 40 or more inches tall exempt.
For complete information on bills enacted in 2016, visit the Legislative Counsel website.