New law keeps teens from driving and texting

Drivers under the age of 18 will be prohibited from texting, even if their cellphone is connected to a hands-free device, under a new state law that takes effect Wednesday, Jan. 1.

Current state law bans any motorist from using a cellphone without a hands-free device, and bans motorists from writing, sending or reading a text-based communication, unless the electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation.

But now, under SB 194, drivers under 18 may not text at all. The ticket cost for a first infraction is $20 and $50 for each subsequent offense.

According to the California Highway Patrol, this is just one of the numerous transportation-related laws that take effect on Wednesday.

That includes a bill expanding the state’s Amber Alert Law, which currently requires law enforcement agencies to activate an alert system when they are informed of the abduction of a child 17 years of age or younger, or of an individual with a proven mental or physical disability, when they determine the victim is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death, and that there is information available that, if disseminated to the general public, could assist with the safe recovery of the victim.

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