New laws impacting drivers coming in the New Year

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As 2017 fast approaches there are things to add to the list of what not to do behind the wheel.

"We've seen it all from reading newspapers to face timing," said Victor Taylor, CHP.

Lawmakers have tightened the reigns on California's existing ban on texting while driving. Now, the use of any handheld device in a way that distracts from driving is against the law.

You can mount your cell phone or GPS on the right or left side of the windshield, dashboard, or center console. Even then, you can only use your finger to activate or deactivate a feature with a single swipe or tap.

"The drivers need to understand they need to focus on the road. There are so many other distractions and new cars have so many apps within the car. CHP wants you to concentrate on the road," said Taylor.

When it comes to your precious cargo drivers need to make sure kids younger than two are in a rear-facing car seat.

"We recommend you stay in that position as long as possible. Unless your child is 40 pounds or 40 inches long, you have an exemption and you can face them forward," said Taylor.

Rear-facing safety seats should be secured and checked at the base with the recline down.

"You want to make sure you give yourself a little extra room just in case you're in a traffic collision so the shell absorbs all the impact versus the child," said Taylor.

Not sure if you are securing the seat properly? You're not alone. California Highway Patrol offers free car seat installation and checkup appointments.
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