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Texting and Phoning While Driving Laws in Los Angeles


Texting Text Messaging and Cell Phone Usage While Driving Laws in Los Angeles
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Facts:

  1. It is illegal to drive a vehicle while using a wireless device (cell phones, PDA’s, etc.) to read, write or send text messages and emails

  2. You may use your cell phone on the road with a hands-free device such as a speakerphone option or standard or Blue Tooth headset

  3. Drivers under 18 are forbidden to use wireless phones while driving (even hands-free)

  4. Teen drivers are also forbidden to use text messaging devices, tablets and laptops while driving

  5. [At ‘press time’] the cell phone ban is being considered for expansion to bicyclists as well

  6. The DMV will not assign a violation point on your driving record for this [reportable] offense but it will appear on record

Fines for Text Messaging and Cell Phone Calling While Driving in LA:

  • $20 base fine for the first offense (keep in minded that certain areas can impose additional penalty fees on top of that)

  • $50 base fine for the next offense (again with the possibility of additional fees)


  • The most basic tip is ‘don’t do it,’ however being in a car all the time (the nature of LA), you may be driving during business hours and feel compelled to get on the phone or start texting. So, one suggestion as far as time-saving is the Dragon dictation app (if you have an iPhone). It allows you to verbally dictate your message (which it then writes) and you can pull over and email or text it.

  • Keep a spare headset in your glove compartment all the time. Most of the time when I’m tempted to talk on the cell phone while driving it’s because I have forgotten my headset at home.

  • Just pull over. It’s not the end of the world if you have to pull over for five minutes to write a text message, send an email or make a quick phone call.

  • And of course, if you’re addicted--pure and simple--to your PDA or phone, try taking a break and leaving it at home for a change.
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