Ask the DMV: Out of state or not, no texting while driving
Q: I live in Nevada and frequently travel by car to California on business. Do the text messaging and cell phone laws apply to me as well?
A: These laws apply to anyone driving in California, even if a driver is just visiting.
In order to prevent text-messaging and talking while driving and the collisions which could occur as a result, both laws prohibit drivers from using electronic wireless communication devices to write, send or read text-based messages — and motorists are required to use a hands-free device when talking on their cell phone while driving.
The base fine for the first offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent convictions.
However, with the addition of penalty assessments, the total amount can be more than triple the base fine.
To learn about these laws in greater detail, visit dmv.ca.gov/cellularphonelaws/index.htm.
Q: I am applying to become a commercial truck driver. What documents do I need to bring with me to the DMV?
A: Good question. The following link contains all the required documents, forms and prerequisites toward obtaining a commercial driver license: dmv.ca.gov/pubs/cdl_htm/sec1_a.htm#how — however, make sure to bring your valid Social Security Card, because this is one of the most commonly forgotten items on application day.
Bring your SSN and save an extra trip to the DMV.
Q: My Daughter is 16 and just received her driver license last week. She wants to drive her best friend, who is also 16, to school.
Is it OK if she receives a letter of approval from her friend’s parents?
A: No. Even with the permission of a parent, your daughter may not drive with anyone under the age of 20 unless a licensed driver over 25 is in the vehicle.
She also may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. without a licensed driver over 25. These restrictions are in place for the first 12 months your daughter is licensed.
The DMV Web site has a section dedicated to new drivers and their parents with more details on new driver restrictions.
To view the page, visit dmv.ca.gov, and under the Home tab, click Teens. I encourage you to visit the page to learn about the provisions your daughter will have to follow over the next year.
George Valverde is the director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The California DMV has answers at dmv.ca.gov. And now, you can submit any DMV-related questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.