Is It Illegal for a Driver to Use Their Phone at a Red Light?

a woman using her phone while driving

Most Californians understand that it is illegal to use a smartphone while driving. But, do the same laws apply when the car is stopped at a red light?

California’s Distracted Driving Laws

Many people use their smartphones at red lights. However, just because it is prevalent does not mean it is legal.

In California, it is illegal to use a handheld electronic device while operating a vehicle, even if the vehicle is stopped. This involves any activity on an electronic device, such as texting, reading an email, and more. The only way that California drivers may use handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle is to have that device mounted in an approved position, such as on the dashboard or a lower corner of the windshield. Drivers may operate the electronic device through voice commands, like Siri.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Drivers who are on their own private property, for example, may use an electronic device while operating their vehicle. Additionally, drivers who need to make emergency calls may do so while driving. However, aside from making an emergency call, there is no legal justification for using a phone while at a red light.

Gathering Evidence in a Distracted Driving Claim

Distracted driving is dangerous, yet people engage in it every day. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a distracted driver, our experienced trial attorneys at Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP can help you build a strong case by gathering all relevant evidence, such as:

  • Timestamps of sent and received calls and texts from the other driver’s phone
  • Records from the other driver’s cell phone company
  • Analysis of the other driver’s social media accounts to see if they posted anything immediately before the incident
  • Data from fitness trackers, such as Apple Watches

We understand the potentially devastating consequences of distracted driving. That’s why our team is here to help the victims of these terrible incidents obtain justice and recover the compensation they need to heal. We may be able to do the same for you.

Call Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP at (866) 634-4525 to schedule a free consultation.

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