Texting while driving in California

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

The state of California has put in place a variety of driving laws to cut down on the number of accidents and fatalities on the road. According to the Federal Communications Commission, distracted drivers were responsible for just over 390,000 injuries and almost 3,500 deaths in 2015 in the United States. Because of this, California has made texting illegal for drivers of all ages, which is in addition to the law prohibiting talking while holding the phone.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, California has added a new law regarding wireless devices that took affect the beginning of 2017. Designed to broaden the restrictions when driving, the law is estimated to help decrease the number of distraction-caused accidents dramatically. Operating, and even holding, a wireless communication device such as a phone is now illegal. If a driver wants to use the phone, it needs to be attached to the car in a place that does not interfere with the driver’s view. This may include the dashboard, windshield or middle console. The only touching of the phone that is allowed by the driver is a tap or swipe of the finger.

Drivers who are caught reading, sending or writing a text message while in the driver’s seat can expect to face fines that range from $20 to $50 along with penalty assessments that can increase the total fine to over $200. Repeat offenders will be charged higher fees than first-time lawbreakers. At this time, a texting violation does not result in points that affect the driver’s driving record.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


(415) 421-7995