New Year Laws Include Texting While Driving Ban - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New Year Laws Include Texting While Driving Ban

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With the new year comes some new laws. Starting Jan. 1, drivers will have to drop some of their bad habits, including text messaging while driving and where you can mount your portable GPS.

Many of this year's new laws are taking aim at California's drivers, raising fees on everything from temporary smog check permits to the positioning of your GPS device.

Even law enforcement will admit that enforcing some of the new year's laws won't be easy, but they say banning texting while driving is filling a gap left by this year's hands-free legislation.

"So we don't have as many accidents as a result of people using their phones or texting on their phones, something that's easily avoidable," Rob Sanchez of the California Highway Patrol said.

Another new law applies to portable GPS users. It says that you can mount the device on your windshield but only in a five-inch square on the driver's side and seven-inch square on the passenger's side. Again, a law based on preventing distraction.

"Also you need to make sure that it's not interfering with any of the air bag operation, and the GPS unit is specifically utilized just for navigation," Sanchez said.

Navigating this new law could end up costing you, on average more than $100 for first time offenders.

The vehicle code had more than 80 changes just this year, and getting rid of mobile messaging is at the top of that list.

"It is a primary offense so the officer can pull them over just for text messaging," Sanchez said.

Others include higher fees for frivolous 911 calls, and stricter penalties on those who choose to drive under the influence.

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