New Hope Police Talk Hands-Free Law
New Hope Police Officers say they see drivers checking email, checking their bank account balance and even booking an airline ticket while stopped at a red light. The new hands-free law that goes into effect in August would make all that multitasking illegal.
Hands-Free Begins August 1
On August 1st, a new law kicks in and requires hands-free use of cell phones. That means, can’t hold your phone in your hand–at all. Also, a driver may not use their phone at any time for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone.
New Hope Police Officer Kaitlyn Baker sees drivers doing all kinds of things when she’s patrolling the streets.
“Sending emails, they’ll go on their bank accounts, they’ll order flights, they’ll do just about anything they can in that couple seconds at a red light,” said Baker.
New Hands-Free Details
The new law allows a driver to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by using voice activation or single-touch activation without holding the phone.
GPS and other systems that can only be used for navigation are exempt from the Hands-Free law. In-car screens and systems are also exempt. In both cases, most of these systems lock when the vehicle is moving. However, you can also use your cell phone for navigation, but again, you can’t have it in your hand.
“Have it mounted, have that address punched in before you’re starting on the road,” said Officer Baker.
You can still make emergency calls, but there’s a caveat—it has to be a legitimate emergency. Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Numbers show a quarter of all crashes involve people not paying attention.
“Pedestrians on the road and in crosswalks, other vehicles in the road, other emergency vehicles trying to get around people,” said Baker.
There are penalties for breaking the hands-free law. The first violation is a $50 ticket plus court fees. The second ticket and court fees could cost up to $275 dollars.