TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

"texting" and driving in California

Discussion in 'California' started by David99, May 13, 2015.

  1. David99

    David99 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2014
    Messages:
    2,066
    Location:
    Brea, Orange County
    #1 David99, May 13, 2015
    Last edited: May 13, 2015
    Listening to the radio the other day someone got out of a 'texting' ticket in California. He mentioned that the law only makes it illegal to use text based communication. All other uses are still allowed. So at the trial he asked the officer if he saw what exactly he was doing on the phone. He said 'no', so the judge dismissed the case. I got curious and looked up the California vehicle code. Here is the quote:

    Section c specifically allows any other use of your phone. Only texting is forbidden. This means unless the officer actually saw that you were reading or writing a text message or email, he can't give you a ticket. In reality it's almost impossible to see the phone's screen through a car window to see exactly what you were doing. So you can probably always get out of a texting ticket in court. Making a phone call without a hands free device is also prohibited. And if you're under 18 you can't use any phones no mater what.

    I know in other states and countries the laws are much stricter.
     
  2. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,318
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I've thought about this before. It seems completely unenforceable, as long as you don't admit to texting while driving. You might even be able to make the argument that it is an illegal stop, because the cop had no way to know what you were doing with your phone.
     
  3. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2013
    Messages:
    3,964
    Location:
    South Surrey, BC
    Great. Let's encourage people to text and drive.:rolleyes:
     
  4. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,255
    Location:
    Denali Highway, Alaska
    Doesn't California's legal system permit "scanning" of a phone's records to determine if it was being used to text at the time of the officer's observation?
     
  5. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,318
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    I've never heard of this. I assume, if there's probable cause, they can get a warrant.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm sure the laws will soon be toughened, if people start exploiting this.
     
  6. Kandiru

    Kandiru Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2014
    Messages:
    503
    Location:
    USA
    The judge will have bailiff request call logs from cell provider.

    My teens will have this hardwired to ignition ON behind glovebox:
    245-tg_101a_heat_sink_vehicle_desktop_cell_phone_gps_gsm_signal_jammer_with_smart_cooling_system.jpg
     
  7. markb1

    markb1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    2,318
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    That would violate the defendant's right to be free from unreasonable search, assuming this is a simple case of the cop pulling someone over because they saw the driver using a phone. In reality, there wouldn't even be a judge involved, because traffic infraction cases aren't typically heard by judges in California, and no attempt would ever be made to obtain cell phone records.

    If it was a more serious case, such as someone getting hit and killed by a car, it would rise above infraction, and there might be cause for obtaining cell phone records.
     
  8. GoBlue88

    GoBlue88 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2014
    Messages:
    638
    Location:
    San Diego area
    They don't need encouragement in San Diego county. I observe it multiple times a day, every day.
     
  9. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Messages:
    1,205
    Location:
    San Diego
    Police (smart ones) have transitioned to issuing tickets for distracted driving instead of texting tickets.. this really became the norm after the ruling that using a phone-based gps was legal.
     
  10. cpa

    cpa Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    Central Valley
    This happened recently here in town, and the Fifth District Appellate Court dismissed the case.

    Using cellphone map while driving OK'd by California court - San Jose Mercury News

    The statute is worded poorly. I agree that a citation for "distracted driving" is more logical for those who are looking at their electronic devices. But in this particular case, the driver was stalled in traffic, so looking at a map on his cell phone (in my not-so-legally-trained opinion) would not constitute any driving infraction.

    Here is the published opinion:

    P. v. Spriggs :: 2014 :: California Court of Appeal Decisions :: California Case Law :: California Law :: U.S. Law :: Justia

    I guess what I do not understand is how "law enforcement" officers make up the rules as they see fit. I presume that the CHP has our Department of Justice advising them of the statutory and case laws and how to apply them in their duties. The DOJ even has the legislative history and committee reports from the legislators, so know the legislative intent. As the unanimous decision correctly points out, the citation clearly was not in the spirit or the letter of the law. The CHP should know better. If they deem this sort of action a hazard (and it very well may be one) they should get the legislature to amend the statute.

    Don't they teach the officers in their training school that the legislative branch makes the laws, and the executive branch enforces them?
     

Share This Page