Traffic Safety

The City of Laguna Niguel and Orange County Sheriff’s Department want to encourage and remind everyone to keep safety a top priority while driving your vehicles.

The Traffic Safety Brochure provides great safety tips on important topics such as:
 - Wearing a safety belt
 - Driving sober
 - Focusing on the road
 - Driving defensively
 - Distracted driving

California’s Cell Phone and Texting Laws

California has enacted a series of laws aimed to reduce collisions caused by distracted drivers by restricting, and in some cases, prohibiting the use of cell phones and other portable communication devices. Beginning in July 2008, cellular phone use was restricted to hands free for drivers 18 years and older and prohibited for drivers under 18 years of age. As of January 1, 2009 all drivers are prohibited from texting while driving a vehicle. Here are some important points related to the laws.

Drivers Under 18 Years of Age

  • Prohibited from using any form of communication device while driving including hands free devices, text messaging and speaker phones.
  • Passengers under 18 years of age may use their phones (remember new drivers under 18 years of age have certain restrictions for transporting passengers under 20 years of age during the first year).

Drivers 18 Years of Age & Older

  • May operate cell phones using hands free devices (e.g. ear piece or speaker phone).
  • Passengers need not use hands free devices while using their cell phones.

All Drivers - Texting

  • All ages are prohibited from texting (or web use) while driving.

"Click It or Ticket" Seat Belt Laws

Not only do teens have a lower seat belt use rate than adults they also have the tendency to improperly wear the restraints. It is still a violation of law if the seat belt is improperly worn (e.g. under the arm instead of over the shoulder). Teens that typically wear their belts when either driving themselves or riding as a passenger with their parents also have the tendency to not wear their seat belts with the same frequency when riding with friends.

Remind your teens (both drivers and those who ride as passengers) that it is very easy for an officer to spot someone who is not wearing a seat belt.  And yes, they can pull them over (and adults for that matter) just for not wearing a seat belt.

Seat Belt Laws

The basic seat belt law (CVC 27315) requires driver and all passengers 16 years of age or older to wear a seat belt. Both the driver and passengers can be cited. Drivers can also be cited for a passenger not wearing a seat belt even if the driver is wearing one. This violation is an infraction with the fine starting at about $65 can increase with subsequent violations.

One of the best ways that parents can encourage their teens (and all aged children for that matter) is by making sure that they always wear seat belts themselves. Indications are seat belt use rates are higher in teens when their parents are habitual restraint users.

Improper Position

Another problem more common with teens is riding in an improper seat position. Some teens recline their seats while operating the vehicle in spite of the vehicle owner’s manual requirement that the seat are placed in an upright position while the vehicle is in motion.

When the seat is reclined the occupant can "submarine" under the belt, causing severe injury. Teens sometime ride 2-to-a-belt, another dangerous act that can result in serious internal injuries. With more vehicles being equipped with side-impact air bags riding in the proper position is becoming even more important.