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California Motor Vehicle Code 23124

Driving and Cell Phones

Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University show that distraction while driving (DWD) is responsible for 25 percent of all car accidents, as the amount of brain activity devoted to driving can decrease by as much as 37 percent when using a wireless telephone.

Young people are considered new drivers and it is important that all of their attention is focused on the road while operating a vehicle. The combination of a new driver and DWD could cause a very serious accident and result in injury or death.

Vehicle Code 23124 was implemented in conjunction with Code 23123, and aims to prevent accidents that are caused by distracted driving due to cell phone use. Code 23124 prohibits people under 18 years old from driving a motor vehicle while using a wireless device of any kind. This includes hands-free or mobile service devices such as a laptop, pager, mobile radio, or other handheld devices.

Young drivers who commit the offense of using a cell phone while driving will incur a base fine of $20 the first time. The fine will be raised to $50 for each subsequent offense.

Law officers are allowed to stop drivers if they are using their cellphone illegally while driving, as in Code 23123, but are not allowed to stop drivers for the sole purpose of determining whether the driver is violating the law. The officer can only stop a driver if he or she has identified that a wireless device is being used while driving.

This code does not apply in instances of emergency. If a call must be made for emergency purposes to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services agency, the driver may use a cell phone while driving.

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