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Texting While Driving In California – Can I while stopped at a light?

January 11, 2012

San Mateo Traffic Defense Attorney

Texting while driving in California is prohibits even while stopped at a light or stop sign, said a California Appeal Court this month.

The court heard a case appealed by Carl Nelson, who admitted to checking his email and pushing some buttons on his cell phone while stopped at a red light.  He was cited by a motorcycle cop who had pulled up in the lane next to him.  Nelson had been fined $103 by a traffic commissioner in Contra Costa County.  In his appeal, Nelson argued that California’s ban on talking on a cell phone while driving did not apply to this case because his car was not moving.

The First District Court of Appeal concluded that the law, Vehicle Code 23123, applies to stopped drivers the same as it applies to drivers in motion.  The court based its opinion in a technical argument that as long as the car was in gear, even if the vehicle’s movement was paused, the driver was still driving and therefore the law applied.  The court also cited the legislature’s intent in wanting to reduce driving distractions.

If you have been charged with a violation of the vehicle code, defense attorney Thomas Greenberg can help you.  Call for free a consultation at (650) 242-0021

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