Know the Road with the CHP: Can I use my phone while I'm at a stoplight?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wanted to know: I know using my phone while driving is illegal, but am I allowed to use my phone while I'm stopped at a stoplight?

"The law specifically addresses this and that says you cannot have any electronic device in your hand period," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol.

"So yes, it is illegal for you to read emails and text messages while you're driving. So the law basically encourages you to have a hands free device, if it's not hands free, it's illegal," Pennings explained.

"If you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely positively need to read an email or a text message, in order for you to legally do so, you need to pull off safely off the highway where it's legal for you to park. Stop your vehicle, put it in park and then at that time, and only at that time, is it legal for you to read your email or your text message," he said.

"So to add to that, making a non-emergency stop on a freeway to read a text message is a violation."

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