California's Cell Phone/Texting Laws

California has enacted a series of laws aimed to reduce collisions caused by distracted drivers by restricting, and in some cases, prohibiting the use of cell phones and other portable communication devices. Beginning in July 2008, cellular phone use was restricted to hands free for drivers 18 years and older and prohibited for drivers under 18 years of age. As of January 1, 2009 all drivers are prohibited from texting while driving a vehicle. Here are some important points related to the laws.

Drivers Under 18 Years of Age
  • Prohibited from using any form of communication device while driving including hands free devices, text messaging and speaker phones.
  • Passengers under 18 years of age may use their phones (remember new drivers under 18 years of age have certain restrictions for transporting passengers under 20 years of age during the first year).
Drivers 18 Years of Age & Older
  • May operate cell phones using hands free devices (e.g. ear piece or speaker phone).
  • Passengers need not use hands free devices while using their cell phones.
All Drivers - Texting
All ages are prohibited from texting (or web use) while driving.