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The laws in summary:
If you are over 18 you can use a device in handsfree mode. With a bluetooth headset, wired headset (only one ear covered), speakerphone, in-dash bluetooth, etc…
However, if you touch the device, it has to be “with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.” in order to: “activate or deactivate a feature or function”
If under 18, you cannot use one at all. You can set up your route on GPS with your phone mounted on the dash, then start driving. Just don’t touch it, or wear a headset.
The ban on hands-free devices for drivers under 18 is a secondary violation. So, an officer cannot pull you over just for this infraction. An officer can, however, cite you for a violation if he or she pulls you over for another reason.
The cell phone laws only pertain to public roads.
VEHICLE CODE – VEH
DIVISION 11. RULES OF THE ROAD [21000 – 23336]
( Division 11 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
CHAPTER 12. Public Offenses [23100 – 23249.50]
( Chapter 12 enacted by Stats. 1959, Ch. 3. )
ARTICLE 1. Driving Offenses [23100 – 23135]
( Heading of Article 1 added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 940, Sec. 9. )
(a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
(b) This section shall not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in the vehicle.
(c) A handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device may be operated in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand while the driver is operating the vehicle only if both of the following conditions are satisfied:
(1) The handheld wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield in the same manner a portable Global Positioning System (GPS) is mounted pursuant to paragraph (12) of subdivision (b) of Section 26708 or is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s dashboard or center console in a manner that does not hinder the driver’s view of the road.
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger.
(d) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a base fine of twenty dollars ($20) for a first offense and fifty dollars ($50) for each subsequent offense.
(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.
(f) For the purposes of this section, “electronic wireless communications device” includes, but is not limited to, a broadband personal communication device, a specialized mobile radio device, a handheld device or laptop computer with mobile data access, a pager, or a two-way messaging device.
(Repealed and added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 660, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2017.)